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When Marine Staff Sergeant John York found out about his impending deployment, he had only one concern–his 3-year-old son. Sargent York didn’t want miss out on the moments his son would experience while he was overseas, so the enterprising Marine rescheduled all of the holidays so he could share them with his son.

Marine Rifle

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Being a parent is complex enough, but leaving behind a child at this formative age presents a completely new set of challenges. Most 3-year-olds are not super gifted when it comes to big picture concepts like time, but they are starting to see the big picture. And when you take one of the parents from that picture, it can leave a gaping hole.

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To make sure that his son wouldn’t miss him on the major holidays, York simply moved them all up. He began by passing out candy to all of the neighbors, and taking the boy trick-or-treating through the neighborhood. He decorated for Christmas months early so Santa would feel welcome. And just before the deployment, they celebrated the boys 4th birthday a few weeks early.

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The video below is a tear-jerker. When we ramble on about the abstract love parents feel for their children, it often sounds so droll. Yet here, in the look on York’s face, you can see commitment and devotion. In this short montage, love itself is defined.

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And York’s method clearly works. What you see on the face of his son is the excitement of the moment. There’s nothing staged or phony about the boy’s reactions. He’s there, unwrapping presents, blowing out candles, riding his new bike.

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On a holiday like today, when we remember, I like to look forward, too. And York, in the character displayed here in this devotion to his son, makes me optimistic.

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York is one of the committed men and women defending America. If his love of country comes anywhere close to his love of family….