ARVADA, Colo. The students and faculty had a very special day Friday at Warder Elementary school in Arvada, celebrating Veterans Day. But the program had an extra special meaning for Gianna Montoya and her brother Landon because they were surprised by a very special big brother.
It all started with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by thoughtful words of thanks written by the students.
Then, it was Gianna Montoya’s turn. Words written, then spoken from the heart. With her brother Landon by her side, helping along the way.
And then, right on cue, in comes Gianna’s and Landon’s big brother Tanner. After a quick glance, well, that was all she wrote.
United States Marine Tanner Dutton came home, on leave, and thought what better time and place to surprise his siblings than at their school, while they were celebrating Veterans Day.
“As soon as I open the door and started walking, I saw them looking out towards the audience, and, that’s when the tears started to come,” Tanner Dutton said.
“I started crying. I just said I really missed you,” Gianna said. “I just ran towards him, I couldn’t believe he was actually here because I totally thought he would be here yesterday,” Landon said.
Afterward, veterans and active-duty military personnel were high-fiving Warder students in a mutual display of affection. But for Gianna, Landon and Tanner, it was a day to remember.