MIDWEST CITY, Oklahoma - Patriotic songs and American flags are nothing unusual at an elementary school, but they take on a special meaning when a student's father makes a surprise visit from overseas. 

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant William Nation spent a week traveling to Midwest City from Afghanistan.  He said the months away from his family became a blur at times, and his homecoming seemed like it might never happen.

"It's that day that you wait on that never seems like it's gonna get there," said Nation.  "It's just, it's a day at a time."

Oklahoma's Adjutant General Myles Deering ran interference for Nation, reading to the Traub Elementary first-graders while the sergeant prepared for his entrance.  He came in while the class was singing "You're a Grand Old Flag."

"It really surprised me," said Nation's 6-year-old daughter Allie.  "My mom tricked me that he wouldn't be back until April."

Allie was so surprised that she kept right on singing right along with the rest of the class even after she saw her father walk in.

"It was emotional for me, and I don't' think she realized what was goin' on," said Nation.  "It was a neat surprise." 

Her dad coming home was an early birthday present for Allie, who turns seven in a couple of weeks.  She plans on taking him shopping soon.