Air Force Technical Sergeant Danny Hull was alone; thinking, waiting.
Serving means leaving, he's home from his fourth tour of duty in Afghanistan; when he goes, he leaves a lot behind.
Wednesday was the annual patriotic assembly for Highland County Schools.
Students file in to see Uncle Sam, meet veterans, hear about the constitution, and hear what makes America great.
But the event had something else in store for two boys sitting front and center.
Sergeant Hull's sons, Patton, a kindergartener, and Bly, a first grader had no idea they were about to see their father for the first time in seven months.
“We really wanted to surprise them, so we're having this assembly for him to be coming home to his boys,” kindergarten teacher Cappie Hull said.
Before the reveal, we asked Sergeant Hull was he was looking forward to most.
“The smiles on their faces, and just giving them a hug,” Sergeant Hull said.
When the assembly was thought to be finished, high school Principal April Goff talked about the sacrifice of those who go, and those who stay behind.
That's when the two boys saw what they didn't know they'd been waiting for.
“It's a relief, you know, just seeing them in pictures and the occasional video on the internet, just being able to hold them and just spend time with them again. That's what it's all about,” Sergeant Hull said.
We asked the boys if they knew that their dad was coming home Wednesday. Both shook their heads and said no.
In a weird way, all the time apart, all that sitting, waiting, isn't so bad.
It makes coming home that much better.