One of the most highly respected career choices in the United States today is when someone decides to join the military. Those individuals have picked a life of defending the country and helping fellow citizens. Some are deployed for long periods to incredibly hostile environments where there is the threat of enemy attacks every day. The training to become a soldier can be long and brutal. The time in the service can last for decades especially when there is an active conflict affecting American interests somewhere in the world. Soldiers are seen as heroes for many good reasons today.
Something that might not be as clear is the personal sacrifice those in the military make at home. Joining the military means giving up a normal life for a long time. It often becomes difficult to stay in touch with friends and family members who are leading civilian lives. Relationships can become strained. Families must go for months or years without seeing a child or spouse who is serving in the military. This type of sacrifice can lead to some very strong emotions later. This is evidenced by the innumerable videos of soldiers coming home to family and spouses unexpectedly.
One family recent had to deal with an emotional time. Bailey and Meyers Leonard are brothers who had a very close upbringing together. Bailey is 22 months older than Meyers. The boys were best friends during childhood. Things changed a little when their father died around the time Meyers turned 6 years old. This is when Bailey decided it was time to step up. Their lives changed for the worse in the years following the death. Meyers was hit particularly hard and cried often when remembering his father. Bailey took on the role of a surrogate father. He started watching over Meyers to ensure he was safe and doing well in school. That strong relationship between the two boys continued on into the teenage years.
The family fell on hard times. The boys distinctly remember that there was never enough money to go around. Their mother could not earn everything they needed working by herself. They eventually ended up living in a home without electricity, furniture or other basic necessities. The family would sleep on the floor of the empty living room with candles for light.
Bailey eventually decided that the right career path was to join the United States Marine Corps. He left soon afterwards. Meyers took the news hard. He did not let it stop him from succeeding, however. Meyers grew up to be just over seven feet tall. He was an excellent athlete. He really started to shine playing basketball. Meyers was such a strong force that he ended up playing in the college Big Ten conference and gaining the recognition of many national teams. He still missed his brother even while starting to build up his own life.
Meyers was on the basketball court practicing with his team in Illinois one day. He had not seen his brother for years due to a deployment to Afghanistan. Meyers did not know that Bailey took steps to schedule a reunion. Bailey flew to the location and walked out onto the basketball court in his full uniform during practice. Meyers looked at him in shock and yelled out a curse word. The surprise turned into joy as the two brothers embraced.
Bailey could only take leave for a few days before having to return. The brothers spend most of the time together. Meyers would eventually go on to join the National Basketball Association as part of the Portland Trailblazers. Bailey is continuing to serve in the military defending the country. Fortunately, photographers and videographers were present to record the entire reunion for posterity.