Today at Blackwood Elementary School a mid-morning assembly started with the singing of God Bless America.
The topic of the assembly was how some classmates sometimes don't see their moms or dads because they serve in the military and are assigned overseas.
One little girl named Skylynn Ippolito didn't have to imagine since her dad is in his 3d deployment, this time in Afghanistan for 9 months.
Today is Skylynn's 8th birthday and her only disappointment was that her dad is not scheduled to come home until November.
Skylynn explained, "I feel really sad because I miss him. He is far, far away."
Well, not exactly. You see, Staff Sgt. John Ippolito got home early, and with the help from the school staff he was able to arrange a surprise. So, while Skylynn donned a blindfold as part of today's assembly, dad quietly stepped in.
There were few dry eyes among adults.
"Since my Daddy came home this is my best birthday ever," Skylynn said.
After being wished a happy birthday by 600 plus voices, Skylynn and her dad returned to her second grade classroom. He answered questions about being a soldier, followed by passing out birthday cupcakes.