December 10, 2021
A soldier knew he wouldn't be able to attend his mother's wedding because of his training. His grandmother suggested writing a letter to his commanding officers, asking for a short leave. What happened next shocked everyone.
Being surrounded by your loved ones on special occasions is a priceless feeling. However, the mere thought of not having your close family and friends around can easily ruin a perfect day. A military mother experienced something similar.
Tamara Twiner was ready to say her vows and hold her fiancé's hand for the rest of her life. But there was someone she was terribly going to miss on her wedding day in 2019, her soldier son, Zaykeese Riley.
[Left] Riley holding his mother's veil. [Right] Twiner breaks down after seeing her son on her wedding day. | Photo: facebook.com/lsjnews
A DISTRAUGHT MILITARY MOM
Riley was an AIT soldier at Fort Lee, 262nd Quartermaster battalion J Co (JAG). Twiner knew he wouldn't make it to her wedding because he had already been shipped to attend a training session. The young U.S. Army soldier revealed:
"On the day my mother was going to get married, I hadn't seen her in six months. I'm serving in the United States Army, and I was at basic training."
Riley felt gloomy about missing his mother's big day in Houston, Texas, and knew she'd be devastated. He was aware of her sacrifices to raise him and his brother as a single mother.
Tamara Twiner pictured with her two sons. | Photo: facebook.com/lsjnews
A FAITHFUL SOLDIER
But he had to perform his duty as a faithful soldier. Riley was willing to sacrifice everything for his country because he loved it with all his heart. He said he was glad his mom respected his decision and was proud of him.
Riley and Twiner's incredible story highlights how several soldiers miss out on being with their loved ones while staying true to their duty.
However, nothing could compensate for his sadness for missing his mom's special day. Surprisingly, a conversation with his grandmother did wonders, and Riley realized it was worth trying.
Tamara Twiner on her wedding day, unaware of her son, Zaykeese Riley, standing behind her. | Photo: facebook.com/lsjnews/video
THE HEARTFELT LETTER
Heeding his grandma's advice, he wrote a letter to his commanding officers, asking them for a one-day leave. Riley expressed:
"They just loved the letter. It was very heartfelt, and they said, 'OK, we don't usually offer special leave for things like this, but since this means so much to you, we're going to be able to do something for you.'"
With his family's help, he planned a heartwarming wedding day surprise for his mother. When Twiner was about to walk down the aisle, she felt someone gently tug her veil. As she turned to see who it was, she couldn't believe her eyes.
Twiner pictured with Riley, her husband, and other family members on her wedding day. | Photo: facebook.com/lsjnews/video
A PERFECT SURPRISE
Riley walked forward and stood by his mother's side, who was a whirlpool of emotions. Twiner cried happy tears as she struggled to come to terms with seeing her deployed son on her wedding day.
The mother-son duo walked down the aisle, arm in arm, but she couldn't hold back her tears. Her videographer suggested using Q-tips to wipe her tears so her makeup wasn't ruined.
Interestingly, when Twiner saw Riley, the Q-tips were rendered useless because of the volume of her tears. Riley witnessed his mom and stepdad's union alongside the other family members. He shared it meant the world to him to be with his family on such an important occasion.
Riley and Twiner's incredible story highlights how several soldiers miss out on being with their loved ones while staying true to their duty. We're glad this mother-son duo got the chance to be together and share the love.