Six–year-old Bailey Paige, from Utah, got a birthday present this year that she’ll never forget.
After months of being away in Afghanistan, her soldier father, Sgt. Adam Paige recently surprised Bailey in the middle of her classroom. As luck would have it, NBC News cameras were there to capture the touching scene.
“That’s my only birthday present I wanted this year,” she said, embracing him as they both cried tears of joy. “I really missed you.”
A similar scene played out in homes across America at the end of last year, when 10,000 soldiers came back from Afghanistan on President Barack Obama’s orders. Another 23,000 are expected to be out by this summer, and the U.S. plans to close its occupation of the country by 2014.
In total, 1,732 U.S. soldiers have been killed in the conflict.
This video was broadcast by NBC’s The Today Show on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012.