For the children of military families, welcoming home a parent from deployment is one of the most anticipated days of the year. But what if it comes as a complete surprise? Several servicemembers recently teamed up with Major League Baseball organizations to shock their loved ones by returning home early.
One such event took place during a recent game at Safeco Field in Seattle, ESPN.com reports. U.S. Army First Sergeant Steve Smerer was given two weeks at home in April and contacted the Seattle Mariners to try to create a surprise for his 13-year-old son Kyle and his two other children.
After Kyle was told by his grandfather he'd been selected for a decoy contest, more than 50 members of the family turned out for the surprise. When Kyle went down to the field for the contest, he was greeted by his father dressed in disguise as an umpire.
"It was easily one of the most emotional moments I can recall having," Smerer told the website. "Although stunned, the smile that appeared on Kyle's face the moment that he realized it was me was something I will always carry with me."
There were other similar reunions in Atlanta, Minnesota and Arizona recently, and chances are there will be more in the coming months. Troops are slated to come home from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, with 23,000 soldiers leaving the country by the end of the summer.