Principal Nick Argonish explained how everyday heroes are fighting around the world to protect the freedoms granted by the Constitution.
And then he explained that one of those heroes had traveled very far from Qatar in the Middle East just to meet them.
"This person is one of our very own East Ward military heroes," Principal Argonish said.
That's when Staff Sgt. Michael McBride of the Delaware Air National Guard walked out on stage surprising his son Connor, who didn't know his dad had come home from his four-month deployment.
Connor wasted no time running up to hug his dad.
McBride presented the school with a flag he'd carried through combat missions, but both he and Connor really just wanted to get home.
"Just landed last night at about 8:00 p.m. I'm still on their timeframe, so I just want to relax and enjoy my family. They made more sacrifices than I did to go away, so I'm sure it's hard on everybody," Sgt. McBride said.
While all the children were paying very close attention to the assembly, for one little girl it had extra special meaning.
First-grader Abbie Bemiss's dad is serving in Afganistan.
"[I'm hoping] he comes back safely," Abbie said.
The assembly was also bittersweet for the principal whose brother Jan Michael was killed in Afghanistan in 2007.
"I think it's so very important; if I had 573 parents serving overseas, I would do this for each one of them when they arrived," Argonish said.