Happy Father's Day! Wait Until You See How These Veteran Dads Were Celebrated
Some hadn't seen their families in over three months - and their reunions were as emotional as you can imagine.
That includes Fresno, CA resident Alicia Bittner, who joined a car parade at the Veterans Home of California, where her father, Don Paulson, currently lives.
Paulson is a 73-year-old war hero and veteran. Due to the coronavirus restrictions, he hasn't seen his daughter for almost 100 days. So, when he finally caught a glimpse of Bitner, who cheered him on from the car her husband was driving, he was overcome with emotion.
Alicia Bitner was able to wish her dad a Happy Father's Day during a car parade at the Veterans Home of California on Sunday. Veterans Home of California/Facebook
"He saw my jeep, he saw me, I could see him start to get choked up. I just want him to know how we feel," Bitner told KFSN-TV. "We love him, we haven't forgotten him."
Bitner and her family joined the parade to send well wishes to her father, Don Paulson. Screenshot: KFSN-TV
More than 50 cars joined the parade that led from the parking lot and wrapped around the front entrance of the building where the veterans and staff members sat and waved to their family and friends as they drove by.
Over 50 cars decorated with balloons and signs participated in the car parade. Veterans Home of California/Facebook
"I was so surprised when I turned the corner and saw so many cars were there," Bitner said. "I'm just so elated that everybody is participating. It's just a really nice thing to see everybody out here."
Most of the cars were decorated with signs, flags and balloons, and the veterans held up signs of their own that read, "I Love My Kids" and "Dad Misses You."
The veterans wore masks and watched the parade from the sidewalk. Some made signs for their loved ones to see as they drove past. Veterans Home of California/Facebook
While some states have started loosening restrictions and are now allowing outdoor visits for loved ones as long as they wear masks and practice social distancing, other facilities are keeping the no visitors rule in place.
Events like the car parade at the Veterans Home have been doing wonders to help the residents stay in good spirits. While social media and video calls help, nursing home officials say there's nothing better for residents than seeing their loved ones in person.
"Thank you to the Veterans Home for hosting this wonderful event," one person commented on a post shared by the facility on social media. "I could see the smiles in their eyes, and I knew under their masks the Veterans were as thrilled as we were to see them all!!"
The car parade was a much needed boost for the seniors, who've spent the last three months in isolation due to the coronavirus. Veterans Home of California/Facebook
While we're sure the veterans would have loved to have more face time with their family members, the drive-by parade was a great way to show them how much they're loved – and that's what Father's Day is all about.
Click through to see more images from the car parade...