HARDIN COUNTY, Ky.-- For a soldier, one of the sweetest parts is saying hello again.
"I'm gonna see my daughter. I haven't seen her in 9 months. I just came back from Afghanistan so I am going to surprise her here," Staff Sergeant Jonathan Owens said.
This was Staff Sergeant Jonathan Owens' fifth deployment. It's the fifth time he's made an honorable sacrifice for his country and his family.
"It's really hard to be away; it's part of the job. It's what we signed up to do," Owens said.
His wife Melanie picked him up last night when the kids were asleep. He surprised three-year- old Tanner this morning.
Six-year-old Lindsay is a real daddy's girl.
"This one was actually harder on her than the last one because she understands," Melanie Owens said .
"She works hard and she keeps her chin up, even on her sad days when she's missing her daddy even more. She misses him a lot," Lindsay's teacher Sue Ellen Langley said.
Owens wanted to really surprise her this time. First-grader Lindsay thought he was coming home in December and when he wasn't able to she was disappointed.
"That's the first thing she told me is that her daddy is in Afghanistan and he's coming home for Christmas," Langley said.
Everyone was in on the surprise, including the parents, the teacher, the guidance counselor, and the principal. They figured lunchtime was the best time for Lindsay to see her dad for the first time in 9 months.
"I told you I'd come home..didn't I? I told you I'd hold my promise," Owens said.
It's a hello the Owens family will never forget.
"I love you daddy," Lindsay said.
"I love you too kiddo," Owens said.