As her graduation from Marshall University got closer, senior Claudia Lea knew it would be a perfect day … almost.
The only person who wouldn’t be there was her father, Army Maj. Brett Lea, who is stationed in Germany.
But Claudia had come to terms with it. It’s just a part of the sacrifice that those in the military and their families make.
“I’ve been in the active duty force for 17 years. Everybody in the Army who has kids and has a spouse, they know you miss things and, you know, you take advantage of the time that you have,” Maj. Lea said.
When the day finally arrived and her name was called so she could walk across the stage, the president of the university had a special announcement. Her dad wrote a letter asking for permission to shoot a video that could be played during the ceremony. The president joyfully agreed.
After he read the letter aloud, the room filled with anticipation as everyone waited for the video to start. Claudia was touched that her father would go out of his way to be a part of “the most significant event of her life so far.”
A few moments later it seemed like, due to technical difficulties, the video would not be able to be played, but soon, the crowd began to clap and cheer. Claudia thought they were just excited about the video until she turned to her side.
Her father had come out from behind the bleachers and was running to hug her.
“I didn’t see him for a while just because I was looking up at the screen waiting for it to start,” Claudia said.
His commanding officers encouraged him to fly out, even if it was only for a 72-hour trip. He said it was an event he “would do anything to be at.”
“It really was something special,” he said.
Looking back, Claudia isn’t surprised that her father pulled a stunt like this.
She said, “With him, I expect nothing less. He has always done everything he can for us. So, honestly, it’s like the most ‘dad’ thing to do of him.”
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