Sergeant John LaGiglia has spent the last year in Afghanistan. His three children, six-year old grace, four-year old Michael, and two-year old Brooke have had a difficult time.
"Powers that be, this little one been asking Santa," said John LaGiglia. "And she's been extraordinarily good so here I am."
"I really am thankful for it," said Grace.
When LaGiglia found out he would be home early, the family planned a big surprise.
The students at Sutherland Elementary joined in the fun, lining the halls and chanting "U-S-A."
LaGiglia said it was wonderful to be home.
"It gets hard when they're on the phone asking me, pleading with me, to come home and there's nothing you can say to explain it to them," said John LaGiglia.
"The kids have a hard time with him being gone. So it's emotional. We're excited it's over," said Mariellyn LaGiglia.
Before going to the school, LaGiglia was greeted by family and friends in Chicago's Beverly neighborhood on the South Side.