Soldier surprises his children

February 1, 2008 4:32:02 PM PST
A soldier staged a surprise that his children will remember for the rest of their lives.

The children thought they made special hats to celebrate Patriotism Day.

With one little guy's dad deployed in Iraq, no one here thought any different when brothers Reece and Chase Kohler were asked to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

The jig was up after the boys spotted the man they haven't seen since July of 2007. Their reunion with dad was a priceless gift arranged by mom.

Tech Sergeant Wade Kohler will be returning to his home base in Kansas City in three days, but his ex-wife Karen and he agreed to surprise their children living in Wilmington the moment that Kohler was back on American soil.

"It's all about the kids, and they have to understand that mommy and daddy love them no matter what, and daddy's going to be there no matter what," said Kohler.

Brandywood Elementary School was the second stop for Kohler. He also surprised 14-year-old Tyler at school.

"I was ecstatic. I couldn't talk. My hands were shaking. I wasn't expecting this," said Tyler.

Neither were Tyler's little brothers.

"I missed you. Are you going to stay for lunch?" asked Reece.

It was an offer this dad couldn't refuse, and his sons couldn't have been happier.

Of course, keeping this reunion a big secret wasn't easy, but clearly the principal and her staff pulled it off.

"It was amazing. You couldn't ask for anything better. It was worth everything we had to go through for this," said Veronica Wilkie.