two soldiers carrying flags

Happy Military Appreciation Month! It is an honor to be able to celebrate the resilience, dedication, and sacrifice of our troops, both past and present. If you’re like me, you can’t get enough of heartwarming military stories (and use up a tissue box or two every time you watch them!) These eight videos and articles, from homecomings to marriage proposals, are sure to leave you feeling proud and appreciative of our servicemen and women.


  • A Bride’s ‘Something Blue’: When Allison Ferrell was planning her wedding, she knew she wanted to honor her 92-year-old Uncle Bill in a special way. Bill served as a Marine in World War II, and Allison was raised in a family that taught her the importance of respecting servicemen. To Allison, honoring her uncle as her ‘something blue’ item was “the natural choice.” Bill borrowed a loaner uniform to wear the day of the wedding, accented with his medals and ribbons, and was pushed down the aisle in his wheelchair. He held a homemade sign as he went down the aisle that announced, “I’m her something blue.” Allison said that seeing how happy he was on her wedding day brought her joy, as he has “a lot of pride for him and his service.”


  • Warm & Fuzzy Reunions (Literally!): Whether or not you are a dog lover, watching this video is sure to leave you grinning from ear-to-ear! Military servicemen and women are captured reuniting with their furry friends. The dogs jump, pant with happiness, and it could be my imagination, but I felt like I could see some of the dogs smiling.


two military men in uniform looking at camera


  • Gender Reveals, Photo Shoots, & Love: When Britt Harris’ husband Chris was killed one week after she told him she was pregnant, Chris’ fellow soldiers stepped in to help honor Chris and show Britt their support. First, Britt sent a gender reveal surprise to Afghanistan, using confetti poppers to show she was having a baby girl. Then, it just so happened that the day the baby was born (March 17) was the same day the soldiers returned home from Afghanistan. Soon after the baby was born, Britt and the soldiers had a newborn photo shoot. 20 soldiers, dressed in full uniform, showed up at the place Britt and Chris were married to take photos with the baby. Christian Michelle, named in honor of her father, has a forever military family taking care of her; I am sure her dad would have been so overjoyed to see his brothers show love to his baby girl.


  • A Santa Baby Surprise: This video looks like a scene from a Hallmark movie. A Marine girlfriend’s family took her to see a Christmas show at Tower City Center in Cleveland, Ohio. As she was selected to come up on stage with the toy soldier, she had no idea that a few minutes later, her boyfriend would appear and join the show! He proceeds to pull out a ring and pop the question. You see the girlfriend (now fiancée) accept his proposal and say, “This is the best day of my life.” I guarantee that is the most memorable Christmas present she will ever receive!


  • Sibling Game Strong: As someone who is extremely close to my sibling, I can’t imagine Joshua not having been around for my “milestone moments,” like high school graduation. I can only imagine how ecstatic Emma must have felt when her Navy brother surprised her at her high school graduation. As Emma and her friends were taking graduation photos, Emma noticed someone photobombing her pictures. As she turned to identify the culprit, she saw her brother standing there! I can attest to the fact that the bond of a brother and sister is strong and unlike any other. The love that Emma and her brother have for one another is evident in this video.


woman being sworn into the army


  • Worth the Wait: I am a sucker for romance and had to include one more love story in the mix. American soldier Norwood Thomas met British teenager Joyce Durant as he was fighting in World War II. Instantly smitten, Norwood knew he wanted to marry Joyce, but communication gaps caused them to lose touch. They married other people, but 70 years later, Joyce’s son tracked down Norwood on the internet out of nowhere. Norwood was able to Skype with Joyce, which eventually led to the sweetest reunion that you’ll have to see unfold for yourself…


  • Unforgettable Homecomings: I couldn’t write this article without including a homecoming compilation video full of reunions and reactions that will make your heart melt. When watching these videos, I like to see how long I can watch them without crying. I held it together until about the 2:45 mark…when the little boy says, “Daddy?!” and runs to embrace him, I proceeded to cry throughout the rest of the video. Homecoming videos serve as reminders of how much loved ones miss their military family members when they are away; they sacrifice, too.


group of troops training


  • Mike Wazowski Day: I was inspired by how a former U.S. Army Military Intelligence Officer has taken difficult circumstances and turned them into a celebration of life. An improvised explosive device detonated while Charlie Bailey was on a mission, which caused Charlie to have a traumatic brain injury and lose his left eye. While he faced struggles that came with his return to the military and eventually retired early, Charlie later found a new job helping underprivileged people become self-sufficient and find jobs, saying “this is a bit of a calling for me.” Every year, Charlie’s family celebrates his journey and life by creating a Mike Wazowski cake (a popular Disney character with one eye). Charlie’s wife says they are blessed to have Charlie here with them and healthy, saying that “God continues to show us that His plans are so much richer than our own.”


These stories remind me that life is precious and should not be taken for granted. It’s important to show love to those in our circle every chance we get and enjoy every moment we have with our loved ones.

Thank you, troops, for ALL that you do.


Marah Whitaker headshot

Hi! My name is Marah Whitaker (think Laura with an M). I am the Marketing Assistant for UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, I spend time writing blog posts, creating content for social media, developing email campaigns, and building relationships with our customer base. During my free time, you can find me getting lost in a good book, having spontaneous dance parties, playing piano, and going to Buffalo Wild Wings on Wing Night. Professionally and personally, I aspire to live by the Mr. Feeny quote, “Dream. Believe. Try. Do Good.” I strive to use my passions to serve others and contribute positively to the world around me. 

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