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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Soldier surprise at Churchville-Chili school

Churchville, N.Y. When SPC Robert Thompson, Jr. left for his first two tours overseas, his sons were too young to understand.

But before Thompson, Jr. was deployed for a third time early last year, there were tears.

They knew, Thompson, Jr. said. The pain they felt went into me.

Thompson, Jr., Chinook helicopter door gunner out of Fort Drum, spent nine months in Afghanistan, much of that time in the sky.

Wednesday, he showed up to his sons Churchville-Chili school, Fairbanks Road Elementary, unbeknownst to his boys.

I feel horrible leaving them like I did Its not just me, its them that make the sacrifice I just really wanted to make them feel better about it and hopefully this does that, he said before he entered the classroom.

Upon seeing his dad, Robert Thompson III leapt into his dads arms.

I love you, he whispered into his dads ear.

Minutes later, Thompsons younger son, Riley, entered and sprinted towards his dad.

This is the best day of my life! the boy exclaimed.

Thompson, Jr. says he will spend some time stationed in Europe soon, but adds this past deployment in Afghanistan will likely be his last.

Too see how much theyve grown makes it worth all the sacrifice and all the pride, its all right here, all right now, Thompson said.

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Washington Times