Soldier returns from Afghanistan, surprises daughter at LI school on Valentine's Day

LINDENHURST, Long Island (WABC) -- It was a special Valentine's Day for a fifth-grader on Long Island, whose father surprised her at school after an eight-month deployment in Afghanistan.

Alexus London, 10, was in gym class at William Rall Elementary School in Lindenhurst on Friday afternoon when her father, Army Staff Sergeant Daniel London, walked in carrying flowers.

Alexus ran across the gym and hugged her father.

"There's not words to explain how much I miss him," she said.

Daniel London was on his third tour in Afghanistan.

"She remembers every deployment that I had," Daniel London said.

When Alexus was two years old, her father and mother, Rosemary London, deployed to Afghanistan at the same time for 15 months. When they returned, Alexus, who had been staying with her grandmother, didn't recognize her parents.

"She's very strong and it's made her very resilient," Rosemary London said.

Daniel London then deployed again when Alexus was five and then again last June.

"I missed her 5th birthday and then I also missed her 10th birthday," Daniel London said.

Rosemary London, who is an NYPD officer, said Alexus misses her father every day.

"We make sure to send him packages and take care of him when he's over there so I know that she's very happy and the fact that it happened for her on Valentine's Day this is something that her future husband - it's very hard to top," Rosemary London said.

After surprising his daughter, Daniel London took questions from Alexus's classmates about being in the military. He told the students the hardest thing about being in the military is missing his family.

Alexus will have plenty of time to spend with her father this time around. He isn't expected to deploy again. London is an FDNY firefighter.

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