Marine surprises sister at college graduation after a year apart due to the pandemic

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A U.S. Marine surprised his sister Saturday at her college graduation after being away for more than a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Private First Class Ryan Booth left for boot camp last summer, but was unable to return home due to the pandemic. 

His sister, Emily, was set to graduate Saturday from Endicott College with a degree in nursing. Their father, Stamford Police Sgt. Jeffrey Booth, tried to coordinate the surprise, which he said was difficult considering how close the siblings are.

“He arrived before the graduation,” Jefferey Booth told the Stamford Advocate. “It was a little difficult to keep the secret, but he ignored her for a couple of days.” 

Endicott was more than happy to help engineer the surprise, even announcing during the ceremony that Ryan would “assist” the college president in handing Emily her diploma. 

“It was actually the school’s idea to bring him up on stage,” Jeffrey Booth said. “Emily didn’t say a whole lot when she saw him. She was shocked by the whole thing. But she was thrilled to see him.”

In a video posted by Endicott to its Twitter page, Emily and Ryan embrace in a bear hug as soon as he is revealed, while everyone applauds and cheers for the reunion. 

Ryan will shortly need to report to base in South Carolina, but the family is trying to make the most of the time he has to spend with them while he’s home. 

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