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Emotional Moment Soldier Surprises Son at HS Graduation After Being Granted Special Leave

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In late spring and early summer, millions of seniors across the country celebrate commencement. Graduating from high school or college is truly an emotional milestone for students and proud families everywhere.

But for parents who are members of the U.S. military, this momentous occasion is even more bittersweet. Much as these dedicated servicemen and women might long to attend in person, they’re often deployed overseas at the time.

Senior Tyler Solomon had already prepared himself for this reality, when he recently stepped onto the Marshfield High School football field in Marshfield, Massachusetts. Clad in his green cap and gown, the graduating senior knew that his father, U.S. Army Sgt. Damon Solomon, would be cheering him on from afar.

The elder Solomon was on his fifth deployment in Kosovo, miles away in the southeastern part of Europe. Or at least, that’s what Tyler Solomon believed.

“I figured it wouldn’t be possible for him to come home,” Tyler told Boston-based ABC news affiliate WCVB. So when 337 members of the Marshfield Class of 2018 gathered as high schoolers for the last time, Tyler was mainly expecting a simple graduation party afterward.

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But what Tyler didn’t realize was that his father had planned a special surprise. Damon Solomon had been able to coordinate an eight day leave  so he could see his boy receive that hard-earned diploma.



Damon Solomon explained that he’d been planning to attend the graduation ceremony for roughly a month. “We’re only allowed a certain time of leave, and only a certain amount of people are allowed to leave at a time,” Solomon said, adding that his commander and first sergeant had been extremely supportive of the idea.

Once Damon Solomon’s plane ticket back to Massachusetts had been booked, he told only his girlfriend and his mother. He also notified the high school’s principal, who was instrumental in helping to coordinate logistics.

That meant when Tyler’s name was announced during the ceremony, he walked toward the podium completely unaware. Then an unforeseen announcement came over the PA system:

“Please join us in recognizing U.S. Army Sgt. Damon Solomon, who was granted special leave this weekend from his fifth deployment in Kosovo to celebrate Tyler’s graduation.”

Tyler said it actually took him a few moments to fully absorb the meaning of those words. But as video footage clearly shows, he knew exactly what to do once he understood the implications.

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He looked out over the field and spotted his dad. Then he made a tearful beeline straight across the turf, and enveloped his father in a huge bear hug.

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“Other families have been going through this with significant others overseas,” Damon Solomon said, adding that most people “understand it’s for the greater good.” But he stressed that this particular moment, this joyous reunion between father and son, will live in his memory forever.

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Mary Bittel is a professional writer, marketer, and published author. She's produced content for several respected media organizations, and dozens of major industries including education, animal welfare, healthcare, finance, non-profit, technology, and entertainment. As an accomplished musician, she's also worked in a therapeutic teaching capacity with developmentally disabled children.
Mary Bittel is a professional writer, marketer, and published author. She's produced content for several respected media organizations, and dozens of major industries including education, animal welfare, healthcare, finance, non-profit, technology, and entertainment. As an accomplished musician, she's also worked in a therapeutic teaching capacity with developmentally disabled children. Additionally, she's an avid animal lover who has spent much of her life rehabilitating abused rescue canines.
Books Written
"The Hidden Treasury: Stories of Wonders and Wanderings"
Location
Illinois
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Music, Marketing, Nutrition, Fitness, Pet Care/Behavior, Cooking, Entertainment




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