A Marine from Texas was reunited with his family Tuesday in a day full of tears and surprises.
KDFW-TV in Dallas reports that students of all ages at the Keller Independent School District were expecting to hear from a special guest speaker from the military — but they weren't expecting to witness a reunion nearly a year in the making.
Gunnery Sgt. Benni Bennett first surprised his oldest son in his classroom.
"I wasn't real nervous at first. But once I got into my oldest's classroom, I started getting nervous," Bennett told KTVT-TV in Dallas.
But that marked just the beginning of an emotional day. Bennett then traveled to a nearby school to surprise his two younger sons in their own classrooms.
In addition to sharing his military experience with his sons' classmates, students also thanked Bennett for his service with a song.
It had been 317 days since Bennett had seen his sons, and he said he noted changes in all three.
"They've all gotten taller. They don't look as tall when you FaceTime but surprising how fast they grew," Bennett told KTVT.
Bennett, who returned from his fourth deployment, will be home for 20 days before he has to go back. However, he's happy he'll be home for Thanksgiving this year.
"I knew I'd be able to see them again one day. It's here. I'm grateful," he said.