Military Dad on Video Sends Message to Middle School Son, Then Tells Him To Turn Around


Military homecomings are a popular category of video on social media. There’s something so genuine, so warm in the way people who haven’t seen each other in a long time react around one another once they’re reunited that we can’t help but smile even when we don’t know the people.

There are the airport scenes, with kiddos huddled around the stateside parent. There are homecomings-turned-proposals, and many parents choose to surprise their kids at school.

We’ve seen all sorts of variations, and it’s difficult to come up with new and improved versions — but really, being reunited with your family doesn’t need much improvement. It’s wonderful no matter how you slice it.

Damian Chapa is a student at Northwest Rankin Middle School in Rankin County, Mississippi. For 16 years his dad has been in the military, so Damien has grown up understanding what that means to a family.

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Capt. Joshua Chapa is a Marine reservist and a Military Police Officer, according to WLBT. For almost a year he’s been in Afghanistan, training police.

The father wasn’t slated to get back to the states until December, so his son certainly wasn’t expecting to see him any sooner than that.

But what Damian didn’t know was that his family and school had been planning a surprise all along.

On Nov. 7, as the students were gathered in the lunchroom, a video message from Capt. Chapa began to play on the screen.

“I just wanted to say hello, and I love you and miss you. It’s been a while since I’ve actually talked to you. Sorry I missed all of your year this year — I’ll make it up to you when I get home. Just wanted to say hello and that I’m thinking of you.”

“Mom’s been telling me you keep saying I need to hurry up and get home,” he continued, “well… turn around.”

The young man spins around at his table and glances toward the back of the room. It takes him a moment to pinpoint his dad, but when he does he can’t keep from smiling.

Maintaining as much composure as a middle-schooler can, he walked to the back and the two Chapas embraced each other as the crowd cheered. It’s clear that Damian — who’s taller than his dad — has missed his father.

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It’s also nice to see a young man who is not embarrassed by such a stunt. Some kids his age would’ve been put out by the show, but not this family.

“What a simply amazing moment that we experienced today at Northwest Rankin Middle School! ??????,” the school posted shortly after the reunion took place.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
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Faith, Animals, Cooking