- Early in the movie, Russell Casse's name pops up on a memorial tower, along with others who had sacrificed themselves in the previous war.
- Jasmine's death. Even worse is that the film teases you into thinking that she will make it.
- The fact that Dylan sees it all happen from his jet and can do nothing but watch his mother die is even worse.
- Not to mention that she died almost the same way as Tiffany in the first film, being on top of a building as it was destroyed by an alien attack. Also sad when you realize that Jasmine likely still didn't know her friend went to the building after warning her not to go.
- The kids that Julius helps. They all know their parents are almost certainly dead, and they manage to keep themselves together for most of the film, but seeing the Sam (the eldest) finally break down is heart-wrenching.
- The scene where Julius tries to sell his book to a bunch of senile old folks. He says it makes a great gift to grandchildren, "if they have grandchildren." It's sad twofold: First, in the prequel book, Julius had been pestering David for grandchildren before Connie died, and second, there's a strong chance most of these elderly folks lost their families in the first attack.
- On that note, the fact that all of the new generation of heroes in this film have lost one or both of their parents whose parents died. By the end of the film, most of the younger heroes are explicitly full orphans.
- In fact, the only character we can say with certainty isn't an orphan by the end of the film is David 'his-dad's-still-alive-at-the-end' Levinson. Everyone else... not so much.
- Rain watching in horror as the moon base is destroyed and seeing her beloved uncle die as a result. As a double whammy, both of her parents, per the interquel novel, died in 1996; her mother was caught in the destruction of Beijing and her father died during the final counterattack.
- Dr. Isaac's death.
- Former President Whitmore's Heroic Sacrifice. He chooses to volunteer for the suicide mission near then end, not only to keep his daughter Patricia safe, but also probably to free himself from all mental trauma he suffered since the last invasion.
- General Grey's cameo appearance; one of the more popular characters from the first movie looks frail here; even sadder when you realize that it was Robert Loggia's final bow.
- Jake's story. Specifically, that his last words to his parents were "I hate you!" Considering he was, at most, seven years old during the first war, he may have said those words for something as trivial as not being allowed to bring his favorite toy to camp.
- David's reaction when he thinks Julius has died in the aliens' attack. His urgent, grieved tone as he yells for his dad over the phone just makes it worse.
Tear Jerker / Independence Day: Resurgence