(PASADENA, Calif.) — While many families attended the 2013 Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on New Year’s Day, military wife Miriam Pazz wished her husband could join her and their 4-year-old son in the stands.
What Pazz didn’t know was that her husband, Army Sgt. First Class Eric Pazz, was hidden on a nearby parade float and was about to give them the best possible start to the New Year.
Miriam had been told she had won a contest to attend the parade and did not know her husband, who is deployed in Afghanistan, would be there.
“My husband just entered his name, I guess. I just got a call letting me know that we won,” Miriam said moments before the surprise reunion.
Spectators rose to a standing ovation when Eric, who was riding on the Natural Balance Pet Foods float along with other service members, got off the float and walked over to his surprised wife and son, Eric Jr.
The family immediately lunged out of the stands and embraced the 32-year-old soldier, who was away from his family for seven months. Eric handed his wife a red rose.
“It was a really great experience,” said Eric. “First thing I thought was, ‘I hope she’s not going to slap me for lying to her.’ After that, seeing our son’s face, how he reacted, I was really caught up into the moment.”
Eric is a highly decorated soldier who has also served in Iraq. The family, who currently lives in Germany, climbed aboard the float for the rest of the five-mile parade route.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio