COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Sunday marked the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, but our military continues to rotate in and out of war zones fighting the war on terror. This puts strain on families as it keeps their loved ones far from home and close to danger.
A Ridge View High School volleyball game against Richland Northeast had an added pregame touch, an occasion to honor those who serve or served in defense of our nation.
Each team member presented a flower to their military parent or friend, except for Victoria Simpson, whose Air Force father wasn't in the crowd. A fourth deployment to the Middle East has kept Master Sergeant Jason Simpson away from her, his son Taylor and wife Merelen for over a year.
With the ceremony over, the game begin, except for a surprise reunion between a father and daughter. The moment was created by Coach Amber Haver, and embraced by an enthusiastic father.
"I've coached her since she was five years old in every sport," said MSgt Simpson. "I can remember just holding both of them, they're only a year and nine days a part."
They grow so fast, especially during those separations. On the eve of an earlier deployment, Victoria confided in him in a way only a father can understand. "She was a little sad because I wasn't here for her game," Simpson said, fighting back tears.
But he won't miss this one, because now he's home.
By the way, Ridge View won their volleyball game 3 sets to 1.