DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It was anything but an ordinary day for some students in Dallas. Kids at Mark Twain Leadership Vanguard received a lesson in love — a boy and his mom reunited.

The surprise event was almost a year in the making, because mom Joann is also known as Private First Class Joann Murray.

Second-grader Elijah Murray has a lot of friends at Mark Twain Elementary and they were all excited about having TV cameras in the building.

The bright lights were on campus to record their special day of rewarding classroom excellence.

But the legendary author and humorist may have endorsed the adventure awaiting Elijah on Friday.

The real reward starts with Joann Murray, who stood behind a curtain ready to reunite with her 8-year-old little boy.

Before the school assembly Joann explained that, “Just recently, about seven months ago, I deployed to Kuwait. I’m only back for R&R… back for 15 days.”

During the assembly students received recognition for academic accomplishments, but there was a different plan for when Elijah took the stage.

Joann walked out and made her long awaited reunion with her son very public…and for many there, very emotional.

“I’m very grateful. I miss my baby,” she said hugging her son.

On this day, Elijah’s dad and grandparents took to the background.
After more than a year away, mom and son have about two weeks before she heads back to Kuwait.

In this technological age, Joann and Elijah do get to see each other through Skype when she’s deployed. But as far as face-to-face… the little boys wasn’t expecting to see his mother until September.

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