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Marine plans surprise homecoming for months

Marine Surprises Family for 4th of July

ALLENDALE, Mich. (July 6, 2014) – When an Allendale family was ready to celebrate the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, they got a surprise they'll never forget.

FOX 17 reports: Here is how the first part of the family's surprise unfolded for Leisa Eckstein, mother of active duty Marine Michael Eckstein of the 1st Battalion 1st Marine Division:

"I was just in my car saying, 'yes freedom! We get to celebrate July 4th festivities!' Then the next thing I know, I get out of the car and that's when I saw Dalton, and ran up to Dalton, who just got back from Afghanistan, he's in the Army, and then I turned around and there was my son," said Leisa Eckstein.

Then, just seconds later, here is surprise part-two, as recorded on Leisa's daughter's cell phone:

"Oh my gosh, really Michael? No way! Oh!" shouted Leisa when she saw her son walk towards her.

Leisa told Fox 17 News that her son Michael planned with his friends since May to fly home. Then Thursday morning, just in time for the weekend of the Fourth of July, Michael surprised his family one by one.

"I thought I was dreaming: I saw my brother and one of his best friends just sitting there, knocking on my window, I just fell into shock," said Erik Eckstein, younger brother of Michael.

Even though the visit was short, Michael's family says every minute is precious.

"I feel proud, overjoyed, sometimes like I said it's stressful because they're out there risking their life for our freedom, and he's my son," said Leisa.

Now stationed in California, Michael is preparing to learn when and where he will travel for his first deployment; but his family says this is not goodbye, it's "see ya soon."

"And I don't like to say good-bye, I like to say see ya later. He always says see ya, so see ya soon," said Leisa.

Michael's sister Amber Eckstein and his brother Erik told Fox 17 News they are so grateful to have spent this weekend with their brother, and shouted together, "Love you. We love you Mikey, Marines for life, O'rah!"

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bullmesht July 08 2014 at 8:23 AM

enough already

Flag Reply +7 rate up
3 replies
MICHAEL July 08 2014 at 9:59 AM

so, were back to these silly home coming surprise things again. only 31, 987 more to go. lets keep beating that dead horse. surely with all the other stuff going on in the world, AOL can find something that is news worthy

Flag Reply +6 rate up
1 reply
brenzluv MICHAEL July 08 2014 at 11:56 AM

After the first 300 or so...they've become trite, stale and tiresome. Enough of this malarkey

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Jerry July 08 2014 at 6:46 AM

May God Bless Them and Keep Them Safe!! Thank-you For Helping To Keep Your Family, Friends and My Family Free! Freedom is Free Because Of People Like You. God Bless You!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
chefjohnp July 08 2014 at 7:42 AM

Thank you for your service, Sir!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
sunshineandrainbowz July 08 2014 at 11:46 AM

I'm sick to death of these stories. If he had went to school he could have gotten a decent job but instead he runs off to play army man and let the government take care of him...nothing but a bum to me.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
3 replies
darkcloudstonite July 08 2014 at 3:01 PM

" I was just in my car saying , ' yes freedom ! ".....hmm....nothing odd about that, eh ?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
topazlisa darkcloudstonite July 08 2014 at 7:36 PM

Not really, I've said much the same thing after months of work and running kids everywhere and then getting a great wekend or week off.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
theomegaman72 July 08 2014 at 12:54 PM

I know many people are tired of seeing these "surprise" reunions, so let's break down some possible reasons why..
There is a huge narcissistic element involved in many of the " hey everybody look at me ! " surprise reunions...these are personal family moments to be enjoyed but apparently that isn't enough for some...they need to film it and put in online because they need strangers to watch...why you ask ? So they can then bask in the glow of positive comments and the attention they receive

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
topazlisa theomegaman72 July 08 2014 at 7:42 PM

I see it more as overflowing joy that just has to be shared. Especially nice for those waiting for their own loved ones return to show it can and (hopefully) will happen.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
ladycict topazlisa July 08 2014 at 10:51 PM

Amen!!, topazlisa

Flag 0 rate up
Tutu July 08 2014 at 8:45 AM

I do not say goodbye either. I said see you when my husband would leave and now when my sons leave as well. I also cry later at home in privacy. They military needs to see smiles and support when they leave.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
kwhodges July 08 2014 at 11:21 AM

I love these surprise reunion stories! It just does a heart good to know that our brave men and women are able to see their families. I am so grateful for their service, and for the sacrifice of their families while they are on duty.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
topazlisa kwhodges July 08 2014 at 7:39 PM

I'm even worse...I love the men coming home to their dogs just as much.
< sheepish grin >

Flag Reply 0 rate up
jjrb1990 July 08 2014 at 4:54 PM

These stories never get old to me.
Semper Fi my brother!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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