MARYLAND

Waldorf student Diya Shakoor Jr. gets big surprise

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A little boy in Maryland is smiling wide after getting a big surprise Wednesday. His father, who is in the military, is now home after a year-long deployment.

For the pre-school students at Good Shepherd Education Center in Waldorf, the day started like any other. But at a special assembly, one student received the surprise of his life.

"I missed him," Diya Shakoor Jr. said.

The expression on little Diya's face said it all - a big smile from ear-to-ear.

His father, Sgt. Diya Shakoor Sr., just completed another long, grueling and dangerous tour in Afghanistan.

Wednesday, he saw his son for the first time in about a year.

"He's grown...," the elder Shakoor said. " He got so smart."

What a birthday surprise for Diya Jr., who turns five in just a few days.

Dad has been abroad for three of his son's birthdays. In fact, he was fighting a war in an unfamiliar place when his boy was born.

The only consolation has been a lot of phone calls home.

Sgt. Diya Shakoor added, "This my fourth deployment, and a lot of fathers don't make it back...Fortunate that I made it back to my son"

The sargent held back tears, but for his wife and mother of their little one, the emotions are too much.

Latoya Douglas-Shakoor said, "My son is old enough to understand him going away and coming home, so I just wanted to make it special for him."

With four tours completed, the 32-year-old says sadly there will probably be a fifth. He has eight years of service left.

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