It's not often that a reciting of the preamble to the Constitution gets a wild standing ovation; there has to be something special about it.
So Adrian Williams, 11, was confused by the roar from the audience when he and his fifth-grade classmates finished their prepared Veterans Day tribute.
But then he turned and saw a man in uniform walking onstage, laden with ribbons and medals.
Adrian's reaction at seeing his father left little uncertainty to the love shared between the two.
“It felt so good seeing my dad and knowing he was home,” Adrian said.
Adrian's dad, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Harold Williams, surprised his son during a Friday assembly at Schwartz Elementary School in the Mid-Del district.
Williams returned to the U.S. late Thursday from Germany, having being stationed there after serving the past several years in Afghanistan.
Williams said he and Adrian's mother planned the surprise.
“I haven't seen my family in about eight years, and I only got a chance to see my son every two years or so,” Williams said. “I got a chance to see him last year but that was like for a day or two, so today is extra special and he isn't going to leave my side.”
Stacey Boyer, director of community relations for Mid-Del schools, said she was in on the planning, and everyone who knew what was going to happen was on pins and needles the whole morning.
“We were watching Adrian eat breakfast, keeping him out of the hallways, just trying to make sure he didn't see anything,” Boyer said.
“Bless his little heart, he started crying and he tried to run behind his friends so people couldn't see. But his dad went and picked him up and they were all crying. I think the whole auditorium was crying.”
Boyer said the Mid-Del district's proximity to Tinker Air Force Base gives the school a military connection that make mornings like Friday extra neat.
“Because we are Tinker's neighbor, it's just even that more special,” she said. “We love to see our moms and dads come home.”
Adrian got to skip school for the rest of the day, leaving with his dad with many plans in mind.
“We're probably gonna catch a movie or play catch, just do as many things together, whatever comes to his mind,” Williams said. “Today is his day; he is the one that is going to make the plans.”