Each Washington Capitals game features a "Salute to the Troops" segment, where a member of the armed forces is introduced to the crowd to be thanked for his or her service. On Wednesday's game, however, there was a twist: instead of Lt. Joe Lemanek being shown on the jumbotron, his daughter Kaitlyn stood in for her dad, who the announcer explained was currently serving in the Middle East. Kaitlyn appeared visibly emotional as she waved to the crowd, but a bigger surprise was still to come.
Unbeknownst to Kaitlyn, her father wasn't in the Middle East at all--he was actually in the arena waiting to present her with a Capitals jersey. The crowd roared as they realized what was happening, and Kaitlyn sprinted to her father and leapt into his arms.
Watch a video of their reunion below. Warning: You may want to get some tissues handy.
And here's some additional photos of the happy reunion:
What a wonderful moment for this family, and what a fantastic thing for the Capitals to arrange. This is truly an unforgettable experience for everyone.
Welcome home, Lt. Lemanek! Thank you so much for your service.