Army dad surprises three young sons at Memorial Day assembly

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Let's be honest, the last few days of school can be kind of dull. For most students, it includes watching movies or maybe a special assembly or program that includes a special guest speaker.

That's what happened at University Heights Elementary Tuesday

Even though the guest speaker stood in front of the entire school, he was really focused on an audience of three.

"I believe I'm gonna cry," US Army Staff Sergeant Jeremy Rose told Region 8 News. "Yep, I feel it now."

Rose grew increasingly anxious as he waited to surprise his three sons at a school assembly Tuesday afternoon.

"Just knowing how they're going to embrace me," is what Rose said made him begin to tear up.

Rose has served our country for 11 years. He's been deployed four times. Twice, going to Iraq and most recently, Afghanistan.

Rose hasn't seen his sons in person for nine months. While he was anxiously awaiting a reunion with his boys, they were oblivious of their father just a set of double doors away.

"Today's assembly is very important," University Heights Elementary Principal Cathelene Gray told students. "See this weekend, we celebrated Memorial Day."

Rose was actually in town for the holiday weekend, but he and his wife Claneicia decided to surprise their sons. She said it's not been easy to keep the secret.

"It was kind of last minute," Claneicia said. "To come home to see him would be different to just surprise them and they're not looking for it."

While the students at University Heights Elementary filed into the cafeteria for that Memorial Day Assembly, Staff Sergeant Rose waited.

Multiple military veterans spoke to students about the importance of serving your country. Finally, Principal Gray brought in the surprise guest speaker.

Students gasped in surprise, many just excited to see a soldier, in uniform, walk through those double doors.

His sons, however, 8-year-old Kaden, 6-year-old Jarviel and 5-year-old Bralen couldn't wait to wrap their arms around their dad.

It was an embrace 9 months in the making and one that won't have to happen again as Rose has finished his term of service.

"It feels great. Being home, I can really get reestablished with my sons and tell 'em all about my experiences," Rose said.

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