When the parents of Army Pfc. Matthew Windish joined the Philadelphia Flyers for a special ceremony on Thursday night, they were led to believe that the team would be honoring their son. Little did they know, Matt was in the building.
Matt’s parents Joann and Mark stood with his brother Chris in front of a very large box that the Flyers were presenting to them as a gift. When the wrapping paper came off, they were surprised by a real life GI Joe.
“I was surprised,” Joann said, via DelawareOnline.com. “First I thought he was coming home, but then I didn’t think he was going to. I just thought it was going to be a video, but when they opened up that box and I saw his face … we have missed him so much this past year. It was an awesome surprise.”
Matt was not due home from his tour in Korea until Dec. 20. It was his brother Chris who thought up the idea of a surprise return when he was watching YouTube clips of military homecomings. Chris set everything up so that Matt flew home a week early, and they kept him hidden from his parents for an entire week to keep the surprise intact.
“It was amazing,” Matt said. “My heart started beating so fast I really had no clue what was going on. I went blank for a little bit. This is probably one of the best things in the whole entire world. This is insanely awesome. I just wish that everyone could get to experience this. I feel very grateful right now.”
Military homecomings at sporting events never get old, and we have seen plenty of them. Kudos to the Flyers for keeping the tradition alive.