ANNA, TEXAS -- Army Captain Scott Schwartz waited with nervous excitement to see his wife and daughter.
"I'm nervous like a first date," Schwartz said.
After being deployed in Afghanistan for a year, he devised a plan to surprise his wife, a 5th grade teacher, and his young daughter, at their Anna elementary school.
All 600 students gathered for what they thought was an award ceremony, not knowing who was behind the curtain.
"I was shocked. Scott was supposed to be home on Saturday or Sunday, which worked out perfectly because I wouldn't have to miss any work and I couldn't believe it I saw him. It's just been a really long year, so just, I'm really glad to have him back," Scott's wife, Rebecca Schwartz, said.
"The looks on both of their faces was priceless. I didn't expect such a showing I thought I'd walk into her class and surprise her. Probably comparable to when the doors opened on the church and I saw my bride for the first time. It was great," Scott Schwartz said.
The school principal gave a message for students in the crowd.
"Freedom is never free and we have brave men and women that go out every day and make sure that you and I don't have to worry about those things," Sue Evelyn Rattan Elementary School Principal John Branam said.
"Whatever expectations I have of coming home and surprising Rebecca is far outweighed by the first moment when you see your wife and child again," Scott Schwartz said.
"The moments that we come back together and the homecoming is incredibly joyful and it doesn't really make it worth it, but, you know, it makes us whole again, and that's all I can really ask," Rebecca Schwartz said.