It was the annual holiday parade in Jacksonville, North Carolina and just about everyone in town was there.
In the crowd lining the street, nine-year-old Trace Pider and his sister, Ellie, who's 7 were there with their mom Niki at their side. And as far as the kids knew, their dad was far, far away.
Ellie said, "Our dad is in Afghanistan."
Ellie and Trace hadn't seen their father, Marine staff Sgt. Delbert Pider in five months and all they wanted was daddy home for Thanksgiving.
"He's always nice and he loves us very much," said Ellie.
Well hold on to your hankies, because what Ellie and Trace didn't know was that their hero dad was actually just a few blocks away on top of a float. His current tour of duty in Afghanistan was finally over.
First, he secretly met up with his wife at the parade staging area. Then, he was about to give his kids a surprise they won't soon forget.
Staff Sgt. Pider waved to the crowd on top of the US float. When he passed in front of Trace and Ellie. they were both speechless.
Five months was long enough. The Marine didn't wait another minute to be reunited with his kids.
"I am very happy because my daddy surprised me," said Ellie.
Staff Sgt. Pider said, "It feels good. It's surreal because just yesterday, I'm coming from Afghanistan and here I am on a float in Jacksonville surprising my kids. Only in America. Only in America."