|Maj. Shane Sparks hugs his son, Cayden, 7, after surprising him at Oxford Elementary School on Thursday. Photo: Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star|
Eighteen third-graders sat Indian style, on the floor in Lyndsey Ward’s Oxford Elementary classroom Thursday afternoon, sounding out sentences about plants.
When two photographers walked into the room, the kids knew something was up. They started to ask questions but were shushed by their teacher. Their concentration suffered again as they noticed faces — other teachers, staff, aides — peeking in from time to time.
Then, from behind the seated group of reading children, came the thud of a pair of desert combat boots.
Cayden Sparks’ dad had come all the way from Iraq to pick him up early from school.
“I’ve talked to him on the phone,” Maj. Shane Sparks said on the drive to the school. “And he keeps on telling me, ‘Dad I haven’t got but two more days until I see you!’ I figured that if I was his age, and my dad were gone, it would mean a lot if he came to get me out of class early.”
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