PASADENA, Calif. (KTLA) — One of the most memorable moments from the 124th Rose Parade was a soldier’s surprise reunion with his wife and 4-year-old son.
Army Sgt. Eric Pazz hadn’t seen his family for months. He’s been on duty serving in Afghanistan for most of 2012, with thoughts of his son constantly on his mind.
“I don’t want him to basically forget me, becasue if you’re gone for that period of time… A year in a toddler’s life is an eternity,” he explained.
The surprise was several months in the making, and Pazz had to keep things hush-hush for weeks.
Thinking she’d won a contest for military families, wife Miriam and son Eric Jr. headed from their home base in Germany to Pasadena.
As Miriam watched the Rose Parade, she spotted her husband standing on top of the Natural Balance Pet Foods “Canines with Courage” float.
It took little Eric a bit longer to catch on.
“I guess he was pretty shocked,” Miriam recalled. “It took him a minute. I had to tell him a couple of times, ‘Look who’s over there! Look who’s over there!'”
For Sgt. Pazz it was an emotional reunion, with an adrenaline rush, too.
“Nerves, jittery… Like oh my God, how are they going to react?” he said, explaining his feelings leading up to the big moment.
The crowd cheered with joy at the sight of the family embracing and sharing a few kisses.
“Just to see the child running up to the father was very sweet,” said parade-goer Lorraine Aiken. “You couldn’t help but be touched.”
The family will spend a week in Southern California before Sgt. Pazz has to return to duty in Afghanistan.