Reunions
Boy has no idea Army dad is martial arts opponent until he hears familiar voice
After he rips his blindfold off, my heart melted into a puddle. ❤️
Kate Miano
04.15.22

For military families, deployment can be a strain for the serviceperson being deployed and the family left behind at home. The intense feelings of missing one another and having to handle life without someone’s dad or mom is really difficult for a lot of kids. That’s why it’s so sweet to see the pure joy that happens when a father and son get reunited in a complete surprise. It’s hard not to share their joy as well!

Luca Cesternino was in for a surprise when he went to martial arts practice.

He loves his martial arts class. He’s become used to sparring with his instructor, and this time they decided to try it blindfolded. Luca’s instructor blindfolded the young boy and they began to fight.

YouTube - CBS News
Source:
YouTube - CBS News

But then, the instructor stepped away, and someone else stepped in to his place.

Unbeknownst to Luca, his dad was back from military service.

Unsplash - Justin Cron
Source:
Unsplash - Justin Cron

His father, Army Staff Sgt. Rob Cesternino had been deployed with the National Guard. His deployment was over, but Luca had no idea. He was about to find out though.

YouTube - CBS News
Source:
YouTube - CBS News

His dad decided that the best way to reveal to him that he was back home was by surprising him at taekwondo class. While Luca was blindfolded and sparring with his taekwondo teacher, his dad took over.

Father and son sparred for a little while, but then his dad decided it was time for the reveal.

For a few minutes, Rob humored his son’s taekwondo moves, even receiving some hits and running around the mat. But eventually, he revealed himself to his son. He called out very simply:

“Keep it going.”

YouTube - CBS News
Source:
YouTube - CBS News

His son knew that voice anywhere. Taken aback, he stopped fighting for a minute. Then, his dad called out again:

“Come on! Is that all you got?”

Luca ripped his blindfold off and saw his father for the first time in a long time.

YouTube - CBS News
Source:
YouTube - CBS News

Seeing his dad, Luca ran into his arms for a hug. With father and son reunited, everyone in the room erupted with happiness. In the video that was captured of the moment, the room fills with applause as people watch this beautiful reunion.

YouTube - CBS News
Source:
YouTube - CBS News

It’s not just people who were in the room who felt joy watching this special moment.

Commenters on the YouTube video also expressed how much they loved seeing this exchange between father and son.

One person says:

“There’s nothing like the true, innocent, dedicated, love of a child for his dad!!!!🤗🤗🤗🤗”

YouTube - CBS News
Source:
YouTube - CBS News

Someone else writes:

“If this doesnt touch you your stone”

After their sweet reunion, father and son both got recognized.

Pexels - Artem Podrez
Source:
Pexels - Artem Podrez

For their hard experience with Rob’s deployment, both father and son were awarded by the martial arts school. Rob received an honorary black belt for his service, while Luca received a belt for his courage and strength while his dad was away.

Moments like this don’t happen every day.

It can be so hard for a child to be separated from their parents, and for a parent to have to go away for work and miss their child. That’s why it’s so touching to see reunions like this one. Now that his dad is back from deployment, Luca’s daily life will change and he will have one more sparring partner around.

YouTube - CBS News
Source:
YouTube - CBS News

His dad knows how hard it was for Luca to be without his dad. Deployment can cause strain for every member of the family. As Rob told WKRN:

“He had to shoulder everything when I was gone. There was no help. He and Leah [Luca’s mother] did it all with the help of an amazing, amazing community.”

Watch this tear-jerking reunion video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Kate Miano
hi@sbly.com
Kate Miano is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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