Being in the military and enduring deployments is tough for our men and women in uniform, but it is also incredibly difficult for the family they leave behind. Spouses become single parents for the time they are gone and have to keep things going at home, and children have to be without one of their parents for extended periods of time.
This can be confusing for young kids especially. It’s hard to explain to a three-year-old that mommy or daddy is just gone for a little while and will be coming back soon. Their loss can feel like abandonment.
The Kohn family knows this firsthand. Gabe Kohn serves in the U.S. Air Force 8th Fighter Wing and has been deployed to South Korea since February.
Gabe has been separated from his wife, Frankie, and two kids for about eight months. During that time he has missed a lot of big milestones, such as his daughter’s first birthday. He’s had to accept that’s just part of the job, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
After months of being gone, Gabe was finally going to be able to come home. He couldn’t wait to see his family!
He decided to surprise his 3-year-old son Micahel with his homecoming. On Wednesday, he showed up at the young boy’s school and, when his back was turned, called out, “Hey Michael!”
Michael stopped what he was doing and turned around, recognizing the familiar voice. When he turned and saw his dad – his hero – standing there, he raced over and jumped into his arms.
“You came back!” he exclaimed.
Those words were both precious and heartbreaking. Gabe knew his son was so happy to see him, but it broke his heart to know that his son spent every day wondering if he would ever see his dad again.
Since Gabe has been home, Frankie said their son has not left his side.
“Michael is very attached to his daddy since being back,” she said.
Sadly, Gabe will have to go back to South Korea in early November, but the family is soaking up every precious moment they have together now.
Thank you, Kohn family, and all the other military families out there, for the tremendous sacrifices you make for our freedom!
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