A Rancho Bernardo High School senior got a heartwarming surprise at her graduation in San Diego on Thursday.
Camille Morris was reunited with her father, Master Sergeant Derrick D. Morris of the United States Marine Corp in a surprise visit during graduation.
Camille said goodbye to her father last year when he was deployed overseas. When she found out he couldn't make it to her high school graduation, she was disappointed.
Rancho Bernardo High School Principal David LeMaster asked Camille to join him during his graduation speech. He recalled meeting Camille and learning that her father was serving overseas.
LeMaster contacted Morris to plan the surprise — which Morris said, was nine months in the making.
Morris served in Iraq, Kosovo, and is currently deployed to Kuwait in support of Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) referred to as Operation Inherent Resolve.
He flew in Tuesday night, but no one from his family knew he was back. He said he knew it would be an emotional reunion — and he was right.
Eyes full of tears, Camille rushed to her father during the ceremony.
“It was well worth,” Morris said, speaking of the moment he hugged his daughter. “I’m a very proud father, very proud.”
Morris said up until the reunion, he had only been in contact with his family through text messages and emails.
“Text messages only say words but it doesn’t have feelings. It’s not like you’re there, you can hold them, kiss them, touch them every night,” he said.
Morris said he put a whole year’s worth of emotions into the hug he gave Camille on Thursday.
“If I had to rank one of the best feelings of my life, this would rank very high. Best moment in my life is being a proud dad and being able to make it all the way back to San Diego to see my daughter graduate,” he said.
Morris is currently on leave.