DALLAS, Texas -- Under the ruse of a patriotic assembly, students at the Dallas Academy gathered Friday afternoon.
But, the real reason for the red, white, and blue celebration waited behind the stage curtain.
"There's been some harrowing moments in the last nine months," said Marine Corps Lt. Colonel Patrick Johnson. "But I've not been as nervous as I am right now."
Lt. Col. Johnson has spent much of the last year in Jordan and Afghanistan. He was part of an elite team training Jordanian soldiers.
He returned home to surprise his three children, Bryghte, Asher, and Madray. Once the headmaster made the announcement introducing Johnson to the crowd, it took a few moments for the surprise to sink in.
But once the children wrapped their arms around their father, Bryghte, who turns 13 Sunday, admitted having dad home is the best present.
"The best one ever!" he said.
"It's wonderful," Lt. Col. Johnson said. "We're all together."