The Friday Flag Salute at French Valley Elementary School in Winchester, California, is always special, but it became a once-in-a-lifetime moment for everyone present when a Navy dad surprised his kids with his homecoming from an overseas mission.
Lieutenant Commander Lionel Hines had been away on a 10-month deployment, his first in almost 12 years. And since he hadn't seen his beloved family in so many months, his wife wanted to make his return extra meaningful for their kids, who are 6 and 7.
Lichel and Mason Hines had just finished singing the "National Anthem" when they heard the announcement that their teacher had a very special surprise for them -- which turned out to be their dad. Take a look at this video clip to see the reunion unfold. (And get the tissues ready.)
Aww! Please excuse me. I'm still doing the ugly cry sniffling over here.
Wasn't it so cute how it took the little girl a minute to realize she was actually seeing her daddy walking towards her? That would be an emotional and shocking moment for an adult, so I can't even imagine what must have been going through her mind at that time.
And then I totally lost it when she ran towards him, only to have her brother follow her straight into their dad's arms.
Wow. If those of us watching this on video are choked up over their reunion -- Lt. Hines' wife must have been unable to contain her joy at seeing her family back together again. It must have been so hard for her to keep that secret from her kids -- but getting to see their reaction over and over again thanks to the camera crews is well worth having to remain tight lipped, I'm sure.
Hopefully the Hines family won't have to endure being apart again anytime soon. I'm sure they're enjoying every second of making up for lost time!
Do you think you'd be able to pull off a surprise like this for your kids?
Image via Kerri Mabee/YouTube