(written: April 12, 2007)

I saw video of a child hugging his dad, crying.
Let me back up a bit.
The dad, just back from Iraq, decided to surprise his son at school.
Our photographer backed into the classroom first, followed by the boy’s mom.
Then Dad walked in.
The camera swung around- caught the look of shock on the boy’s face.
His lips trembled, his little body shook.
Then he launched himself out of his little chair and charged up to his dad, who swung his boy up in one motion and hugged him close.
The wireless microphone picked up the emotional exchange.
Dad: I missed you.
Boy: I missed you too, Daddy.
Cue the tears. Grab the tissues.
That video, shot by our photographer, has made it around the world.
The Today Show ran it.
Inside Edition ran it.
Access Hollywood ran it.
AFN ran it.
The Pentagon channel ran it.
I’ve seen that hug at least 20 times.
Each time I watch, I cry.
I cry because I remember the day my own dad came for a visit.
The year: 1969
The war: Vietnam
My mom and I were living in Seoul, South Korea.
We lived near her family while my dad did his duty for Uncle Sam.
It also make it easier for him to visit on the rare occasion that he got to take r’n’r.
He flew to Tokyo, then to Seoul.
He surprised me, not at school.
He was waiting when I came home from school.
Sitting on the front steps in full dress uniform.
I remember seeing him from down the street.
I’m sure my lip trembled.
I’m sure my body shook. I don’t remember.
I do remember running down the street and launching myself into his arms, crying.
Dad: I missed you.
Me: I missed you too, Daddy.
Then, I took him by the hand and paraded him up and down the street, crying out in Korean, “Yuh-ghee nah abu-jee ee-suh-yuh!” “Here is my dad!”
You see, I had been teased unmercifully in the time I’d lived in Korea without my dad.
I have the curly hair and round eyes of my dad.
I speak the fluent Korean of my mom.
The kids said my dad must have “had his way” with my mom then abandoned us, as had happened with so many other families.
When I said, “No, my daddy is fighting in Vietnam,” they laughed.
“That’s just what your mom tells you.
Well, here was living proof.
Flesh and Blood.
My Daddy.
Visiting from Vietnam.
Letting me drag him down the street to meet everyone once and for all.
So they could see my Daddy loved my Mommy… and he loved me, too.

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