A Jackson second-grader got a very special surprise in his classroom this morning and we caught the moment on camera.
Little Justin Mallory hasn’t seen his military mom in a year. She’s been deployed in Afghanistan with the US Army, but today she came home.
It was an ordinary Monday morning for Justin, at Clausell Elementary School. He had been reading books with classmates, completely unaware of who was walking toward him, on the other side of that wall…
And how his life would suddenly change in that instant.
His face changed at the first sight of her and he whispered “mama” before jumping out of his seat.
As the 8-year-old embraced his mother again, after so long, you could hear a pin drop in the classroom.
Then, his little tears began to fall.
His mom, Army Specialist Laquanda Gray, was all smiles and tears also.
“[I’m] excited… I’m happy to see him. It’s been a while,” Gray said.
Of the many struggles a soldier faces while deployed, she says she’s mostly had to learn to cope with missing her family.
“[It’s] being away from family and friends, but you learn, you make new friends, you learn to cope, she added. “Or, you’ve got your battle buddies there to help you get through tough situations.”
When mom is serving her country in a foreign land, grandma takes care of Justin.
Grandma Connie Malory-Armstrong said “I’m proud of Quanda and I’m glad that she’s back and she made it home safely. We’re all proud of Quanda for making her life better for her and her child.”
The shy, second-grader says he and his mom are going to have a lot of fun today.
During the moment of their reunion, there didn’t seem to be a dry eye in the classroom.
Laquanda says she will be home for a while.