Video: Mother and child reunion, US Navy version

posted at 12:45 pm on February 29, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

I defy readers to keep a dry eye through this video of a surprise visit to a 9-year-old girl in a Chino, California school by her mother. In this case, Mom is also First Class Petty Officer Toni Debem, who just spent the last five months in the Arabian Gulf on the USS John Stennis, leaving behind her daughter Nadia and a 16-month old son with her husband. Instead of waiting to meet her family a few days from now, Debem came home early and arranged the surprise, to the tearful delight of Nadia:

A Navy petty officer returned from her deployment a little early to surprise a VIP – her 9-year-old daughter.

First Class Petty Officer Toni Debem, who had been at sea since July 2011, tapped her daughter’s shoulder as she sat with her third-grade class at Rhodes Elementary School in Chino.

Nadia turned and squealed when she saw who had tapped her on the shoulder.

“Mommy!” Nadia said, jumping out of her chair and into her mother’s arms. Nadia buried her face into her mother’s neck and started crying. “I miss you!”

It may not be news, but it’s a reminder of the sacrifices our men and women in the armed forces make to serve and protect our nation. On behalf of all those who serve, it’s a good palate cleanser for a Wednesday. Welcome home, Mom, and we thank you for your service and sacrifice.


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Sure is alot of dust in here.

*Teary eyes*

portlandon on February 29, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Awesome welcome home! Thanks for your service, CPO and family!

indyvet on February 29, 2012 at 12:50 PM

I love these videos.

Surprising your kids in uniform > kitten videos.

Mord on February 29, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Those welcome home videos are always tearjerkers…..and this one has me blubbering as well.

Those who serve will always have a special place in this “Proud Army Mom’s” heart. ♥

tencole on February 29, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Damned allergies! Sniff!

GarandFan on February 29, 2012 at 12:53 PM

The squeels of joy from military kids when they are reunited with their parents gets me EVERY TIME!

ITguy on February 29, 2012 at 12:55 PM

This was an awesome story. The gay Marine video that went viral, not so much.

Happy Nomad on February 29, 2012 at 12:56 PM

{“squeals”, not “squeels”}

ITguy on February 29, 2012 at 12:56 PM

I’m not crying, I swear. I was chopping onions while watching.

BakerAllie on February 29, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Video: Mother and child reunion, US Navy version

posted at 12:45 pm on February 29, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

I love how Ed works song/movie references into his headlines and picture captions.

Mother and child reunion

ITguy on February 29, 2012 at 12:59 PM

This was an awesome story. The gay Marine video that went viral, not so much.

no reason to bring this up-one way or another

gerrym51 on February 29, 2012 at 12:59 PM

It’s wonderful that Mom and daughter are back together, E-6 Debem seems like a fine serviceperson and great Mom. My one grinchy take is that I tend to dislike setup surprise-videoing of personal moments in general, but it’s great she’s back with her family.

whatcat on February 29, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Onion for lunch never again

tomas on February 29, 2012 at 1:00 PM

meh!

Didn’t *sniff* move me *sniff* at all.

/

Flora Duh on February 29, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Bacon

World of Warcraft

Herbie Hancock’s “Headhunters” album

HotAir

Military-family reunion videos

A list of some things I never get tired of.

gryphon202 on February 29, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Mother and child reunion

ITguy on February 29, 2012 at 12:59 PM

I’ve heard Simon wrote that after seeing a chicken omelet on a menu somewhere. No joke.

BakerAllie on February 29, 2012 at 1:04 PM

This was an awesome story. The gay Marine video that went viral, not so much.

Happy Nomad on February 29, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Yeah, it’s not like he was a real Marine happy to see the one he loves or anything.

/

youknowit on February 29, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Welcome home, Mom, and we thank you for your service and sacrifice.

Indeed. Thank you to all of our service members and their families!

ITguy on February 29, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Love this!! When I came back from Afghanistan, ex-hubs and I didn’t tell the kids (7 and 8 at the time) that Momma was home… I just showed up at their school. The front office ladies took pictures and bawled their eyes out with me and the kids. Best day EVER!!

CantCureStupid on February 29, 2012 at 1:06 PM

What do you mean, I was just rubbin’ my eyes since I didn’t get much sleep last night. Hell, cowboys don’t cry, you know that.

TXUS on February 29, 2012 at 1:07 PM

gerrym51 on February 29, 2012 at 12:59 PM

So were you appointed hall monitor or did you just take on the task of policing these threads?

Happy Nomad on February 29, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Monkees Singer Davy Jones Dead at 66 From Heart Attack
Mutnodjmet on February 29, 2012 at 1:06 PM

I suddenly feel a lot older.

whatcat on February 29, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Something always gets in my eyes when I watch videos like this!

*sniffff

tinkerthinker on February 29, 2012 at 1:10 PM

What I’d like to see here at HA, in addition to the OOTD, is a daily posting of these military family reunion videos. Ed, you wouldn’t even need to write a blurb, just post one to start the day.

TXUS on February 29, 2012 at 1:12 PM

These aren’t tears, it’s just raining right now…

Aw screw it!!! I’m crying!!!! God bless Toni Debem and her family, we really do appreciate your sacrifice and courage.

NerwenAldarion on February 29, 2012 at 1:12 PM

CantCureStupid on February 29, 2012 at 1:06 PM

When I was in the Navy I couldn’t afford to fly from VA to MA for Christmas the second year I was away. The parents understood and really wanted to see me but they knew I was 18 and on my own and liking it.

It turned out my roommate was planning on driving up to RI for the weekend and wanted a couple guys to come with him to split driving and gasoline. Since he was going to be about an hour from where I lived anyway, I went with him and he dropped me off.

I never told them I was coming up, they thought I was down in Norfolk when I knocked on the door at dinnertime Christmas eve. The look on my Mom’s face was priceless.

Mord on February 29, 2012 at 1:16 PM

So were you appointed hall monitor or did you just take on the task of policing these threads?

Hall monitor.I say as i see

LOL

gerrym51 on February 29, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Yeah, it’s nice I guess, but isn’t it distracting the other children from their lessons? Wouldn’t this time be better spent learning about Black History month, or (since this is CA) the many contributions to history made by the GLBT community? Really, we’re talking about the children. Our future. THE CHILDREN.

BrianBerkey on February 29, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Love this!! When I came back from Afghanistan, ex-hubs and I didn’t tell the kids (7 and 8 at the time) that Momma was home… I just showed up at their school. The front office ladies took pictures and bawled their eyes out with me and the kids. Best day EVER!!

CantCureStupid on February 29, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Thank you for your service! Glad you got to have a great reunion, too!

tinkerthinker on February 29, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Monkees Singer Davy Jones Dead at 66 From Heart Attack
Mutnodjmet on February 29, 2012 at 1:06 PM

I suddenly feel a lot older.

whatcat on February 29, 2012 at 1:09 PM

It’s a link to his blog.

CurtZHP on February 29, 2012 at 1:18 PM

It must be harder to have a mother away, than a father. For me at that age it would be.

portlandon on February 29, 2012 at 1:21 PM

thought I was down in Norfolk when I knocked on the door at dinnertime Christmas eve. The look on my Mom’s face was priceless.

Mord on February 29, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Just picturing that scene is another teary-eyed moment! I bet your Mom said the best Christmas present she received was having you come home for Christmas. :-)

ITguy on February 29, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Monkees Singer Davy Jones Dead at 66 From Heart Attack
Mutnodjmet on February 29, 2012 at 1:06 PM

I suddenly feel a lot older.
whatcat on February 29, 2012 at 1:09 PM

It’s a link to his blog.
CurtZHP on February 29, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Yeah, but it linked to the story on TMZ. And I still feel suddenly older, heh.

whatcat on February 29, 2012 at 1:31 PM

ITguy on February 29, 2012 at 1:23 PM

It was a great weekend! Nothing like one of these videos of people coming home from deployment of course, this was back in ’96 I think. These videos just remind me of that story.

Mord on February 29, 2012 at 1:33 PM

thought I was down in Norfolk when I knocked on the door at dinnertime Christmas eve. The look on my Mom’s face was priceless.
Mord on February 29, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Just picturing that scene is another teary-eyed moment! I bet your Mom said the best Christmas present she received was having you come home for Christmas. :-)
ITguy on February 29, 2012 at 1:23 PM

I recall quite a few wonderful times with us kids being packed into the car and going to the airport to meet misc. family members coming home for some R&R.

whatcat on February 29, 2012 at 1:34 PM

You can post all of those type of videos you want, Ed.

They help keep the message of what our service people sacrifice fresh in people’s minds.

.
.
.
.
.
sniff

PolAgnostic on February 29, 2012 at 1:48 PM

This is a reminder that it’s not only the men and women overseas in our military who make personal sacrifices to keep this country safe, but also their families and children who make the sacrifice of separation.

Crusty on February 29, 2012 at 1:48 PM

To the Women who serve in the Armed Forces,Thank-You for
your sacrifice,to Country and Family.That was very touching,
and I can well imagine,played out throughout oversea deployments,by many families who serve!!

canopfor on February 29, 2012 at 1:50 PM

It may not be news, but it’s a reminder of the sacrifices our men and women in the armed forces make to serve and protect our nation. On behalf of all those who serve, it’s a good palate cleanser for a Wednesday. Welcome home, Mom, and we thank you for your service and sacrifice.
=============================

Amen on that Capt’n Ed!!:)

canopfor on February 29, 2012 at 1:51 PM

What do you mean, I was just rubbin’ my eyes since I didn’t get much sleep last night. Hell, cowboys don’t cry, you know that.

TXUS on February 29, 2012 at 1:07 PM

No…but apparently they like to show their more feminine side with all that poetry they do in Nevada.

In other news…Welcome home Petty Officer. From one NCO to another, glad to have you back Stateside, safe from harm.

MooCow…out.

MooCowBang on February 29, 2012 at 1:52 PM

I see this and am just brightened by the fact the Obama administration wants to cut the affordability and access of health care for active duty soldiers, vets and retirees while leaving the unionized DoD civilian employees alone.

catmman on February 29, 2012 at 1:53 PM

I would never tell when I was coming home …. I would just show up and knock on the door …..(usually about supper time :D )

conservative tarheel on February 29, 2012 at 1:54 PM

All the little girls in the classroom watch the reunion with smiling faces and a few teary eyes as the mother and daughter reunify… while all the boys pretend to be reading or doing something else constructive. LoL “Must. Not. Show. Emotions.”

These reunion video’s always make me teary eyed. It reminds me of my homecomings with my kids when they were just little tykes. Nothing else in my life ever hurt so good before or since.

FlatFoot on February 29, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Ed thanks for the video … we get tons here in NC … we get the Norfolk tv stations here so when the fleet comes home we get the home coming vids …. love em …
most of my career I was single … so the only person glad I was home was my div office so he could deploy me again ….

conservative tarheel on February 29, 2012 at 1:56 PM

I love these people so much, our men and women in uniform.

dragonhawk on February 29, 2012 at 1:58 PM

All this snow we’re getting must have gotten in my eye. To all those serving, past and present. Thank You is not enough. To the kids and spouses left behind. May God bless you.

Minnfidel on February 29, 2012 at 2:06 PM

There are two things that always turn on the waterworks for me: the end of Roman Holiday and these reunion videos. (And no, I don’t consider them morally equivalent.)

It’s heartbreaking she has to deploy again. I kind of wish she could find a line of work that wouldn’t require the repeated separations from her babies.

mrsknightley on February 29, 2012 at 2:26 PM

You’re killing me.

Cindy Munford on February 29, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Simply beautiful. Was always the worst thing about deployment–even to ‘the field’ for a couple months–leaving husband and small fry behind. The thing we could have used back then? Skype!

:)

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on February 29, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Mord on February 29, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Many years ago I had to travel from Norfolk VA to Indian Head MD for some training. A little figuring and fudging later I made the trip via Louisville KY with a two day layover to see my family. I’d been separated from them for about 6 months or so at the time with at least 6 more months to go before I’d see them again. I was so far out of bounds that technically I was over the hill. It was worth it and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I made the unauthorized detour without problems and wound up in Indian Head with a couple of hours to spare.

Oldnuke on February 29, 2012 at 2:38 PM

This only serves to remind me of my step-daughter who will be graduating this year and has received assignment to San Diego for the next 4 years for the Navy. I’m proud of her as can be, as her mom, but she’s gonna be a basket case for awhile, obviously.

Only in America, where Love of Country is matched by Love of those stand at the wall for those they won’t ever even meet.

Semper Fi, Welcome Home.

BlaxPac on February 29, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Nothing else in my life ever hurt so good before or since.

FlatFoot on February 29, 2012 at 1:55 PM

When I left home on one deployment my youngest son was just a few months old. When I got back he was a toddler in Mommy’s arms. I was a total stranger to him. That was one of the things that moved me to leave the Navy. I was always going to be gone…always.

Oldnuke on February 29, 2012 at 2:45 PM

FlatFoot on February 29, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Oh yeah, I still have a telegram I received while at sea for a couple of weeks. The telegram telling me that I had a new son and that baby and mother were doing fine. I think I finally got to see him about a week later.

Oldnuke on February 29, 2012 at 2:49 PM

(sniff)

This veteran dad has no idea what this must be like for a serving mom.

I couldn’t handle it.

The bond between mom and children shouldn’t be severed at any cost including this one.

I’d tell this mom to her face, “Thanks for serving but for the sake of your kids don’t reenlist.”

I know my comment will not be popular.

shick on February 29, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Sorry, couldn’t hold back.

jake49 on February 29, 2012 at 2:57 PM

When I left home on one deployment my youngest son was just a few months old. When I got back he was a toddler in Mommy’s arms. I was a total stranger to him. That was one of the things that moved me to leave the Navy. I was always going to be gone…always.

Oldnuke on February 29, 2012 at 2:45 PM

Same here. End of second stint, 6 years in, about to re-up (Army dangled buckets of cash to stay).

I was *haha!* slightly pregnant with son, watching husband move so efficiently around the kitchen with the help of our small daughter…it hit me: they’re a team; I’m a visitor. I wanted ‘in’ that family.
:)

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on February 29, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Same here. End of second stint, 6 years in, about to re-up (Army dangled buckets of cash to stay).

I was *haha!* slightly pregnant with son, watching husband move so efficiently around the kitchen with the help of our small daughter…it hit me: they’re a team; I’m a visitor. I wanted ‘in’ that family.
:)

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on February 29, 2012 at 3:04 PM

God bless you and yours.

shick on February 29, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Thanks!
:)

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on February 29, 2012 at 3:15 PM

I know my comment will not be popular.

shick on February 29, 2012 at 2:53 PM

You won’t get any animosity from me brother. It was hard enough for me as a man to watch my family dwindling aft. I can’t imagine what it does to a loving Mother to be separated from her children like that.

Oldnuke on February 29, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Onions…dust…allergies; in my case, all three apparently. These things kill me (but I love’em anyway.)

Dopenstrange on February 29, 2012 at 3:52 PM

it hit me: they’re a team; I’m a visitor. I wanted ‘in’ that family.
:)

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on February 29, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Yep, exactly. Same for me I felt like an intruder.

Same here. End of second stint, 6 years in, about to re-up (Army dangled buckets of cash to stay).

When I made my decision I had just passed the E-6 exam but needed another 45 days on my enlistment to be promoted. My variable re-enlistment bonus was the highest offered in the military at the time. About all I had to do was keep my nose clean and put in time in grade and E-7 would have been almost guaranteed. I opted out, wouldn’t even extend the 45 days I needed to accept E-6. Spent my last year as an E-5. We only had one guy extend the extra days to make E-6 and he later regretted it.

Oldnuke on February 29, 2012 at 3:55 PM

it hit me: they’re a team; I’m a visitor. I wanted ‘in’ that family.
:)

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on February 29, 2012 at 3:04 PM

That comment is another tear-jerker!

The love and joy comes through so clearly.

God bless you and your family as you transition to your new “Team life”!

ITguy on February 29, 2012 at 3:56 PM

You won’t get any animosity from me brother. It was hard enough for me as a man to watch my family dwindling aft. I can’t imagine what it does to a loving Mother to be separated from her children like that.

Oldnuke on February 29, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Thanks brother. (sniff)

shick on February 29, 2012 at 3:57 PM

I think the mom here is a Navy career counselor (NC1), if I’m identifying that badge on her uniform correctly.

fiatboomer on February 29, 2012 at 4:04 PM

As someone who can relate…

Bravo Zulu to you PO Debem and family!!!

g2825m on February 29, 2012 at 4:48 PM

It’s very sweet – but there’s something about these videos that seems a tad wrong.
Would/Could have been a beautiful moment – perhaps more so – without staging it for a camera crew.

verbaluce on February 29, 2012 at 4:50 PM

It’s very sweet – but there’s something about these videos that seems a tad wrong.
Would/Could have been a beautiful moment – perhaps more so – without staging it for a camera crew.

verbaluce on February 29, 2012 at 4:50 PM

I understand what you are saying BUT these NEED to be shown often to remind folks back home that we are over here and not forgotten and what sacrifices both PO Debem AND her family are making for the country.

g2825m on February 29, 2012 at 4:53 PM

*sniff*

DBear on February 29, 2012 at 5:15 PM

In this case, Mom is also First Class Petty Officer Toni Debem, who just spent the last five months in the Arabian Gulf on the USS John Stennis, leaving behind her daughter Nadia and a 16-month old son with her husband.

Well, I guess we can consider the culture wars lost if this is being praised by Conservatives. A nation that sends its mothers and daughters off to die in foreign wars is not worth saving.

sartana on February 29, 2012 at 5:22 PM

When I made my decision I had just passed the E-6 exam but needed another 45 days on my enlistment to be promoted. My variable re-enlistment bonus was the highest offered in the military at the time. About all I had to do was keep my nose clean and put in time in grade and E-7 would have been almost guaranteed. I opted out, wouldn’t even extend the 45 days I needed to accept E-6. Spent my last year as an E-5. We only had one guy extend the extra days to make E-6 and he later regretted it.

Oldnuke on February 29, 2012 at 3:55 PM

Yeppers! Ole Sgt. Vulcha was on the E6 list, and I’d already been extended 2 months (at the pleasure of Uncle Sam) when I cried, “Basta!” You made the right, rewarding choice for your life & family, as did I. For other men and women who serve, staying the course is their “right” choice. Even if they’re mothers.
:D

That comment is another tear-jerker!

The love and joy comes through so clearly.

God bless you and your family as you transition to your new “Team life”!

ITguy on February 29, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Why, thank you! That choice was made many moons ago. The kids are grown and gone now, and Husband has reclaimed his kitchen without expressly telling me I’m a lousy cook.
;)

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on February 29, 2012 at 6:36 PM

Well, I guess we can consider the culture wars lost if this is being praised by Conservatives. A nation that sends its mothers and daughters off to die in foreign wars is not worth saving.

sartana on February 29, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Women’s lib in this country is destroying the family. The Bible says the mother is the nurturer and the father is the provider and protectorer. Obviously, with the breakdown of the family some mothers must go to work. The only way the mother should be a protector is if her home is broken into or her child is in danger at school or on the street or so. Jobs in the military should have been limited to non-combat roles. The Bible says mothers/women are to be revered/lifted up. How is sending them into battle, lifting them up. Fighting for equal rights to a point is one thing, but then of course it’s always taken too far. So now bring on the attacks…..I know they are coming. Anyone points out what the Bible says and they are shoving religion down everyone’s throat.

momof5shortstuff on March 2, 2012 at 10:33 AM