Seven-year-old Hailey McGregor has not had it easy the last seven months. Her father left home to continue his service in the United States Navy as an officer, and her mother gave birth to a newborn son. Now that Hailey is no longer the baby of the family, she is expected to help out around the house more and help mom with the infant.
It’s hard work. On top of her family issues, Hailey is still expected to excel at school and on her cheerleading squad. But with dad overseas, she is sad and misses the way things used to be when he was home.
After a few months, Hailey got used to the change. Although she missed her dad, she figured out how to cope with him being gone from the family while serving the country overseas. She continued to go to school and work on her cheerleading routines. Things were going well for her despite the hardship she faced at home. And she adored her newborn brother.
During the night when the video below was taken, Hailey thought it was just another school night. She didn’t think this football game would change her life forever. When halftime came, Hailey took her place with her cheerleading squad and waited for the music to start.
Instead, a scratchy voice comes onto the loudspeaker. And it leaves Hailey speechless with her jaw on the floor.
When the words finally hit home for her, Hailey realizes the announcer is calling a name she knows very well. It’s her father’s name.
For a few moments, Hailey is confused. Tears stream down her face. Why is she hearing her father’s name? Did he die? Is he home? She doesn’t get it. The emotions are running too high for her to figure it out logically.
Thankfully, her mother is in the stands nearby. She helps snap Hailey out of her confusion. Suddenly, Hailey loses control of her legs and bolts toward her mother in the stands. And at that moment, mom points to the other end of the field and tells Hailey to look.
Like a hero striding through an explosion, Hailey’s father beams at her from his position downfield. He has a smile plastered across his face and is overjoyed to see his little girl.
With no self-consciousness, Hailey runs to her father and jumps in his arms. After being away from him for seven months, she can no longer keep up the pretense of being cool in front of her friends. She missed her dad and is overjoyed to see him home safe and sound.
As Hailey and her father reunite for the first time in months, the crowd in the football arena burst into applause. This military family reunion was much better than a regular half-time routine.
Hailey had no idea that her father was coming home this day. It caught her by surprise, and she loved it.
Because it was on video, the family has the moment to treasure for years to come. I’m sure they will watch the clip at every family reunion.