As we observe Independence Day, it is important to remember and acknowledge the sacrifice and service of our men and women in uniform, in addition to military families.
If you're anything like us, we love watching videos from our soldiers returning home to their loved ones, especially when its a surprise.
As we pause to celebrate this July 4th holiday, here are 10 of our most favorite solider surprises:
When Jimmy Talbot's wife heard her husband was returning home after his fifth deployment, she wanted to do something special for his mother and three daughters. What transpires is a tear-jerking and memorable appearance before loved ones they weren't expecting.
Mary Pat Siess, 26, is one hard-working woman. When she's not busy fighting against an aggressive form of leukemia, she works to bring smiles and hope to people at a bakery in Pittsburgh. In this incredible sweet viral video, watch the shock wash over Mary as she learns she's not only standing in front of her soldier brother, but she's also headed with him to Walt Disney World... right there and now!
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Not all soldier surprises are on humans. Earlier this year, we were moved by the sweet exchange that came between Army Pvt. Hannah Foraker and her golden retriever Buddy after they were reunited following her three-month leave for basic training. Such a heartening moment between a pooch and her people.
In this incredible video, an airplane pilot turned the tables on the usual soldier surprise. When Capt. Mario Lopes learned his son, First Lt. Mario Lopes, was scheduled for a return flight from Kuwait on April 14, he seized on an opportunity to pilot the military flight back to Virginia. Once they were mid-air, Capt. Lopes sprung the reunion on his shocked son.
Sometimes to pull off a great soldier surprise, you'll get by with a little help from your friends. Army engineer Alan MacAllister planned his surprise homecoming for weeks, employing the help of three police officers. On the special day, the cops pulled over Darlene MacAllister and ordered her out of the car.
During questioning, Alan sneaked up to his petrified mama and puts the shock of a lifetime on her!
When you haven't seen your soldier in awhile, you don't care who is watching when they return before your very eyes! One father learned that when U.S. Army Sergeant Dan Urman shocked his family with an appearance at a hockey game. His dad embraced the man so hard, they both slipped onto the ice in a painful-looking but incredibly heartwarming reunion.
The family of Sgt. 1st Class Robert Vandenberg Jr. thought they were going to speak with their favorite soldier on the jumbotron at a hockey stadium. But after some 'technical difficulties,' he springs a holiday surprise on his shocked wife and family. Such a sweet moment!
If you're a teacher, chances are you have seen and heard just about everything. But for third grade teacher Paula Riggs, nothing could prepare her for the sudden elation that happened when her son, Sgt. Paul Riggs, stepped into her classroom after two years away.
If you thought the teacher in the last video was shocked, imagine seeing dad--who is supposed to be in Iraq--as he suddenly walks inside the classroom! U.S. Army Sgt. Major Harrington Henry's three kids were extremely happy to see him during what was supposed to be an assembly on public safety.
Amber Opperman was given the chance to speak with her dad every Wednesday for the six months that Tech Sgt. David Opperman was deployed. But one day, during their Skype session, the proud father stepped off camera and right inside Amber's classroom for a reunion we're never going to forget.