Soldier Deployed Overseas Surprises Daughter Before Graduation

A US army officer deployed overseas surprised her daughter before her high school graduation in Alabama in late May, emerging as her daughter watched a congratulatory video message she had sent her to keep up the ruse.

Footage released by the US Army shows Jai Sisk sitting in a restaurant as she watched a montage that her mom, Chief Warrant Officer Trina Sisk, had made because would not see Jai graduate in person…. or so Jai thought.

“Though I’m not there with you in person, know that I am always there,” Sisk told her daughter in the video message, which included photos of her daughter throughout the years.

As the tribute video concluded, Jai joked that her mom looked “like one of them soldiers in them videos on TV.” A moment later, Jai turned to her right and, seeing her mother, leaped from her seat to hug her.

After the graduation, Sisk was due to return to duty in Kuwait in support of Operation Spartan Shield, the US Army said. Credit: US Army via Storyful

Video transcript

[CHATTER]

- Looks like you're on a video here reacting.

- I'm up on it.

JAI SISK: All right.

TRINA SISK: Jaida Trenae Gauche, the day has finally come for you to cross that threshold of high school dreams to real-life adulting, for you to say goodbye to seasonal friends and close-call mornings. Everything you have endured over these last 18 years, the trials, successes, failures, wanted, unwanted advice, lectures--

- Don't cry.

TRINA SISK: (CRYING) --were preparing you for this day--

JAI SISK: I get to cry.

TRINA SISK: --and the journey to follow. So enjoy this precious moment. I have no doubts that this would be the first of many to come. Though I'm not there with you in person, know that I'm always there. Whether I'm pushing you towards your goals, cheering you on, or catching you when you fall, I'm always there. As you embark upon this next phase of your life, I am confident you will do so with the utmost poise, courage, and tenacity, which I know you to embody.

JAI SISK: You know I don't know that word.

[LAUGHTER]

TRINA SISK: Remember to show yourself some grace and mercy when you make mistakes. And embrace your perfect imperfections. Words cannot express how incredibly proud I am to have watched you grow into the strong and independent woman you are today. I am so lucky and blessed to be your mom. Congratulations on your graduation. You deserve all of the great things coming to you. I love you so very much.

JAI SISK: Oh, I love you too. She look like one of them soldiers in them videos on TV.

[LAUGHTER]

- What the heck is happening?

- Aw!

- What the heck just happened?

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- What's happening? What's happening?

Why don't you turn it off?

- Look at that big baby. Look at that big baby!

- You're supposed to turn your embarrassing video.

[LAUGHTER]

- Yeah.

JAI SISK: Where were you? I been calling you all day.

[LAUGHTER]

TRINA SISK: I was travelling for 30 hours.

[LAUGHTER]

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