When men and women join the military, they are also voluntarily sacrificing the opportunity to be a part of very important events and celebrations that will take place in the lives of their loved ones back home. Their commitment to serving their nation and protecting the freedom of its citizens and residents is not only selfless, but courageous.

It isn’t just these military men and women who are making sacrifices. Parents have to say goodbye to their children, spouses have to hold down the fort on their own, and children have to go without seeing their mommy or daddy for a while. It’s families’ wholehearted acceptance of this responsibility that allows these men and women to perform their duties with pride, honor, and dedication.

Gavin Harding and his fiancée, Melissa, have dealt with this firsthand.

The pair met back in grade school and eventually fell in love. They planned to get married.

When he was finally old enough to register, Gavin decided to enroll in the Marines. The only downside to this was that he would have to spend a great deal of time away from Melissa for training. The couple decided they would get married when Gavin came home for a break.

The pair eagerly anticipated his return, but when he finally got back home, there was an even greater gift waiting for him: his 2-month-old son William.

Melissa had given birth to their beautiful baby boy while Gavin was away and he had been desperately waiting for the moment he would get to hold his son in his arms.

As soon as Gavin spotted Melissa and William he hurried over with tears in his eyes to embrace them.

“I lost it,” Gavin said later, “the most perfect baby I have ever seen in my life.”

Holding his son for the first time reminded Gavin why he chose to do what he is doing.

“It made me want to push harder,” he said.

What an unforgettable moment and a special memory for this little family!

Thank you for all that you are doing for our country, Gavin! We wish you and your family all the best in the time you have together and the difficult, but rewarding, road ahead!

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