CHICAGO (CBS)–A Veterans Day surprise brought tears to the eyes of the Fremont School District 79 community.

When 6-year-old Colton Mayes gathered with classmates for a school assembly honoring veterans at his Mundelein school, he didn’t know how special the day would soon become.

Colton Mayes, 6, was surprised by his dad at a Veterans Day assembly at his school.

As the students and teachers sang along to patriotic music and honored the American flag, Colton’s favorite hero—his father—suddenly walked into the room.

Petty Officer William Mayes had been deployed with the Navy for about seven months.

Colton’s family said his dad would be home for the holidays later than expected this year, but Christmas actually ended up coming earlier than expected.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better moment,” Mayes said after embracing his son in a surprise hug during the ceremony.

The family’s best news is that there will be no more emotional reunions for a while, because Mayes is being stationed at Naval Station Great Lakes near North Chicago for the next three years.