Service members sacrifice so much for our country — sometimes giving the ultimate sacrifice for freedom — but their family members and loved ones make sacrifices too, with time spent apart, worry and separation. Every time a service member comes home safe and sound is a great moment, and homecomings like this one are just amazing to see! Surprise homecomings are especially great to watch, and this recent one is just spectacular!
Staff Sgt. Janae Ratledge of the United States Army had been away from her 10-year-old daughter for the past nine months. Deployed overseas with the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division in Kuwait, the Army mom missed a lot of time with her only daughter, Jazmyn, including a birthday and lots of other special occasions. So when she returned home earlier than expected, she didn’t want to miss a moment with Jazmyn.
SSgt. Ratledge found out that her daughter was competing in the Razzle Dazzle Cheer Competition at Las Cruces High School. That was something that she absolutely had to see for herself. It didn’t hurt that she knew she would be surprising her daughter as well, who wasn’t expecting her mother home yet!
Janae told the Las Cruces Sun-News that she broke down crying as soon as she saw her daughter at the competition. An event organizer asked her if she was alright, and when Janae explained who she was they decided to help her surprise her daughter by hiding her where she could easily watch the cheer routine.
As soon as the cheer team ended their routine, Janae stepped out so her daughter could see her. It took a moment for 10-year-old Jazmyn to realize what was happening, but when she did she immediately ran to her mother with outstretched arms.
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“She saw me and the pom poms were gone. My baby came a running,” Janae said. “Then the waterworks started again. It was so amazing to see my daughter.”
Anytime a service member returns safely home is a great day, but moments like these are so special to see and remind us of the true emotion that is felt by those family members and friends who wait patiently at home for their loved one in uniform to return.
Watch this amazing surprise homecoming in the video below!
Jacob H. is an award-winning journalist and photojournalist who currently resides is West Michigan with his wife. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys writing, photography, mountain climbing, and camping.