BETHLEHEM TWP., Pa. - Students in Bethlehem celebrated Veterans Day a little early Thursday. Miller Heights Elementary held its annual Veterans Day assembly where students and staff honor those who served our country.
Every year the kids thank local veterans in their families and send letters to ones they've never met.
"It helps our students learn about why it's special," said Deborah Roeder, principal of Miller Heights Elementary School.
But this year's assembly was extra special, with a surprise guest all the way from Texas. Corporal Rogelio Morales surprised his kindergarten son, Jaziah, and the entire school.
"I saw his head just pop up from the crowd and I was like, 'oh, there goes my little man," said Morales.
Morales was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas and had not seen his son in seven months. The time apart was difficult and so was pulling off the surprise.
"I came home and we were hiding me for almost a week," says Morales.
Morales stayed at his mother-in-law's house for one week. He and his wife, Kayla, say keeping the secret was tough and Jaziah almost caught on.
"He wanted to keep calling me on FaceTime so I had to try and play it off, go outside, walk around the neighborhood," said Morales.
But they pulled it off and his grand entrance at Thursday's assembly tugged at the heart strings of everyone in attendance.
"It was emotional for everybody," said Roeder.
The Corporal is now home for good. He'll be officially medically retired next month after he was involved in a serious accident in June 2016.
"That day we were doing off-road terrain training," said Morales.
During that training at Fort Hood, an Army truck overturned in floodwaters killing nine soldiers. Morales says he's lucky to be alive.
"Next thing I know I was getting woken up by one of my battle buddies holding and shaking me," said Morales.
Morales suffered injuries to his head, ribs, back and knee. He says he's also still dealing with PTSD from the incident. But now he's back with his 'little man', the best medicine in the world.
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