There's nothing more heartwarming than a military homecoming, and to celebrate Veterans Day, Here are 13 YouTube videos that show just how much joy a reunion can bring.
Some of these videos are obviously staged. Those will probably still give you the feels, but the very best are the ones that were made by someone spontaneously turning on their phone's camera.
Regular viewers of internet videos won't be surprised to learn that four of the top five are pet videos, but dogs and cats are family, too. Right?
1. Scuba Soldier - Back from Afghanistan Early - Surprises Family (21M+ views)
Enjoying a day at the beach, this family thinks they're making a video to send to dad while he's serving in Afghanistan. With some help from a scuba tank, our service member interrupts their message so they can deliver it in person.
2. Soldier Welcomed Home by Happy Dog!!! Drill Weekend (20M+ views)
Everyone should hope for a dog that loves them as much as Cotton, a deaf rescue pitbull, loved his Oregon National Guard member. R.I.P. to a very good boy who passed away in 2016.
3. Cat Welcomes Home Soldier (Awesome) (32M+ views)
Not all cats are aloof. This kitty loses its mind when it knows its service member is about to walk through the door, jumps into his arms and begins purring wildly. Of course, the family's other cat sits by and doesn't do a thing, holding up the side for cats everywhere.
4. Dog Welcomes Home Soldier ... Again (13M+ views)
Chuck the Boxer leaps out of the back of the SUV and just can't calm down as he sees his service member who has returned after 8 months away. There's nothing better than a dog who's completely out of control with joy.
5. Soldier Surprises His Son (26M+ views)
Dad returns from a yearlong deployment to Kuwait and Iraq and surprises his son in the school cafeteria. Dogs may leap with happiness, but kids cry with joy.
6. Soldier Dad Surprises Son During School Assembly (11M+ views)
A South Carolina dad returns from Afghanistan and surprises his son during a school assembly. Young Josh Carroll may be an 8th grader but he's not too cool to run across the cafeteria to leap into his father's arms when he realizes that dad came back early.
7. Military Son Surprises Dad at 70th Birthday Party (12M+ views)
There's a lot of competition in the military homecoming space, so this service member got creative for his dad's 70th birthday party. After a guy in a gorilla suit delivers a happy birthday balloon, dad watches a best wishes video from his son stationed overseas. Then the guy in the gorilla costume takes off his head....
8. A Heartwarming Surprise Military Reunion (12M+ views)
Back in 2013, Ellen DeGeneres invited a military family onto her show. First military spouse Jen Lackey gets a huge surprise when her husband Capt. Michael Lackey has come home early from Kuwait and is the mystery gift. The reunion was Capt. Lackey's idea and it was his letter to Ellen that inspired the television reunion. Then the tables turn when ASDFA brings out the couple's two daughters to surprise dad on the show. Then Ellen gives the family a trip to Hawaii. Happiness all around.
9. Soldiers Surprise Daughter at School Magic Show! (29M+ views)
Soldiers Julie and Brian Woodburn had both been deployed at the same time and separated from their daughter Addison. Then the kid's caregiver took her to a magic show at a Gilbert, LA junior high school and actual magic happened.
10. Airman Comes Home to Handicapped Dog from 6-Month Deployment! (7M+ views)
An airman returns home from a 6-month deployment in 2013 and is greeted by the family's pack of dogs. Most moving is disabled dog Emma, who sadly passed away in 2020.
11. Soldier Coming Home; Dog's Reaction (7M+ views)
There's nothing better than a senior dog who cries because they're so happy to see you.
12. Military Mom Surprises Son at School (6M+ views)
Mom returns from Afghanistan a week early, lets the dog lick her face and has a group hug at home before heading to her son's school. Her high school son keeps his cool but the video ends with mom getting a look at the inside of his school locker, a place no parent should ever want to see.
13. Surprise Military Family Welcome Home at South Carolina Football Game (14M+ views)
At a 2012 University of South Carolina football game, the Faile family from Kershaw, SC were being honored as the Military Family of the Game and were happy to see a video message from SFC Scott Faile on the stadium's giant screen. The family cries as the fans cheer a moving message from dad. Things get crazy just after the video ends as he promises that he'll see the family "real, real soon."
Want to Know More About the Military?
Be sure to get the latest news about the U.S. military, as well as critical info about how to join and all the benefits of service. Subscribe to Military.com and receive customized updates delivered straight to your inbox.