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.
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!”