Touching Military Homecoming During COVID-19
2023/07/24

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Military homecomings during COVID-19 are drastically different from what we are used to seeing. In the past, homecomings were full of excitement, with hundreds of families gathered in airplane hangars to welcome their loved ones back. However, with the pandemic, social distancing and mask-wearing protocols have changed the way military homecomings are conducted. The author's husband recently returned from a 10-month deployment, and they were unsure of what the homecoming would look like due to the pandemic. Instead of a large gathering, service members were brought back in smaller groups and were simply picked up by their families.

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Everyone wore masks and had their temperatures checked, and there was no physical contact allowed between them and the families. The author and their daughter waited in an open field to see their soldier for the first time in months. Despite the absence of a traditional homecoming ceremony, the joy and emotion of being reunited after a long deployment were still present. The author's husband finally held their 10-month-old daughter for the first time since she was 3-weeks-old, and no pandemic could dampen the significance of this milestone. COVID-19 has taken a lot from everyone, but it will never take away the happiness of being reunited with family after a deployment. Although military homecomings have changed, the love and support for the returning service members remain strong.

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