When Christopher Harris died, he’d just been told that he was going to be a father. However, there had still been something that he hadn’t yet known about his future child. Then, two months after his passing, a group of his friends got together to share the exciting news on his behalf.
And the woman expecting was Christopher’s wife Brittany Harris, a 26-year-old from Southern Pines, North Carolina. The Harrises’ wedding had only taken place at the end of 2016; within months of the couple getting hitched, though, Brittany had found out that she was carrying their first child.
Christopher had been a U.S. Army soldier since 2013, however, and was stationed overseas at the time that Brittany discovered that she was pregnant. As a result, she had to call her husband while he was serving in Afghanistan and tell him the good news via FaceTime.
Specifically, Brittany broke the news by showing him a baby onesie covered in ducklings and a message reading, “Chris, you’re going to be a dad!” And Christopher was absolutely delighted, according to his wife. “He was ecstatic. He wanted to be a dad more than anything,” she told The Washington Post in October 2017.
But then, just a week after the couple’s excited phone call, events took a tragic turn. Paratrooper Christopher was involved in an explosion in Kandahar, Afghanistan. A car bomb went off near the vehicle in which he was traveling – and, horribly, it would claim his life.
Sergeant Harris was killed along with his comrade, Sergeant Jonathon Michael Hunter, in August 2017 – and, understandably, the news left Brittany devastated. Having only just told her husband that she was pregnant, she was now facing the prospect of bringing their child into the world alone.
And the day after she learned of her husband’s death, Brittany took to Facebook to inform her family and friends of her loss. She wrote, “As the news spreads about the two soldiers killed in action yesterday in Afghanistan, it is with a very heavy and broken heart that I confirm one of them was my husband Chris Harris.”
She then went on to tell her social network that she’d recently found out that she was pregnant. Brittany added that her “main concern” for the time being was to make sure that the pregnancy went smoothly, given the “crushing circumstances” that she found herself in.
But there was something else on her mind, too. In particular, Brittany found her thoughts were often with her husband’s fellow soldiers, who were still stationed out in Afghanistan. And she was well aware that they also must be missing her husband terribly over there.
“They’re still grieving,” Brittany subsequently told The Washington Post. “They’re just doing it away from the rest of us.” As a result, she wanted to ensure that those men were still a part of her life.
Brittany was over 7,000 miles away from the soldiers, however. But she nonetheless came up with an ingenious way in which they could still be involved in what should have been her and her husband’s journey towards parenthood. And through the method that she chose, the grieving widow hoped to show the men that they were still in her thoughts, even though they were so far away.
In fact, Brittany was determined that the soldiers wouldn’t feel forgotten. So, the mother-to-be sent her husband’s comrades a package containing confetti poppers. She also asked the troops if they would like to be the “first to know the gender” of her baby. And they were all “really excited” to be included, according to Brittany.
And after the confetti cannons arrived in Afghanistan, the 82nd Airborne Division all gathered in front of an American flag. They were ready to reveal the gender of their fallen friend’s baby. Furthermore, the event was caught on camera, with Corporal Nathan Bagley kicking things off with a little speech.
Standing with his comrades, Bagley said, “My boy Harris, we’re gonna do it for him – we’re going to see what kind of baby he’s going to have. I don’t know if it’s a boy or girl or zebra or unicorn, but we’re about to find out.”
Then, after a short countdown, the soldiers let off their poppers to release a shower of pink confetti. And that meant, of course, that Brittany was going to have a baby girl. The soldiers subsequently whooped and cheered as the confetti rained down on them, clearly delighted with the news.
Brittany later uploaded the video of the poignant gender reveal to her Facebook page, for the world to see how many loyal comrades her late husband had had. The expectant mother further admitted that while the emotional footage had made her smile, it also reduced her to tears whenever she watched it.
“It showed me that they’re all keeping their promises to Chris to look after his family and be involved,” she said to The Washington Post, adding that the tears she had cried were tears of joy. And Brittany also revealed that she had loved the excitement on the faces of her late husband’s comrades.
“It was so great to see how [the soldiers] reacted,” Brittany added to The Washington Post. One of the troops even said that the team were delighted “to welcome the new member of our company,” referring to their fallen comrade’s future daughter.
Meanwhile, Brittany, who is expecting her baby to arrive in March 2018, has been able to take time off from work so that she can deal with the grief of losing her husband. She’s also been going to counselling sessions to help her get through this traumatic period.
And although the baby will never get to meet her father, Brittany has decided to do something to ensure that her daughter will always remember her late dad. When the little girl arrives, she will be named Christian Michelle Harris – after her father’s full name, Christopher Michael Harris.