A soldier’s homecoming is always very special and extremely emotional for the family. But a recent reunion of a military dad with his young son has left not only the family but the Internet teary-eyed. A nine-year-old boy in Tennessee got a very special surprise at his Taekwondo class when he had a duel with his father — only the boy was blindfolded and didn’t realise it was his dad until he heard his voice properly. Now, the video of the emotional reunion is going viral.
In a moving footage, little Luca Cesternino is seen throwing some punches, not realising it was his dad on the mat. Tennessee Army National Guard staff sergeant Rob Cesternino can be heard encouraging his son throughout the video, and each time he does, his son hesitates, like he knows he’s hearing his dad’s voice but is convincing himself that this just can’t be. The little one knew his dad would be home soon after being deployed in the Middle East, but it wasn’t until the following week so couldn’t believe it.
It was finally on the third time when Cesternino called his son by his nickname, Luca recognized his voice, tore off his blindfold and jumped into his father’s arms. The poignant moment left the duo and others watching online grabbing for tissues.
I’m not crying, you’re crying 😭 pic.twitter.com/D7ZRCaJT6L
— Athlete Swag (@AthleteSwag) March 20, 2019
While the little boy did not know, the whole town got together to pull off the special surprise. People got together not only to welcome the soldier with yellow bows and mural but helped him to plan the huge surprise in a then-private Facebook group called “Operation Yellow Ribbon, Welcome Home Rob Cesternino.”
According to WFLA, Staff Sergeant Cesternino spent ten months serving in Jordan and Southern Syria before returning home to his family.