by: Erica Bryant Updated:
INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. - It's an embrace one local father and his 5-year-old son had waited two and a half years for.
Tyler Harrill just returned to Indian Trail this week after serving in the Air Force in Guam.
His son, Byron Harrill, was only two when he left.
As Byron filed in to the Porter Ridge Elementary School auditorium Thursday it was obvious he didn’t suspect a thing.
But as the program honoring veterans continued, a teacher called him to the front.
“Your dad is serving in the military, is that right?” she asked Byron.
"He makes the bombs for the Air Force," Byron said.
That’s when Tyler showed up from the side and surprised his son.
Tyler picked Byron up and they embraced for the first time in two years.
RAW VIDEO: Watch the long-awaited reunion
Like so many in the military, Harrill has been stationed overseas.
His service is a sacrifice for his whole family.
As Channel 9 cameras were rolling, Byron told his dad, “I thought I was never going to see you again,” as they walked out of the assembly.
“I told my mommy that I missed him a lot and I couldn’t feel his skin touch when he touched me some days,” Byron said.
“He said he never thought I was ever coming back, which made me sad. But then he told me that he loved me and missed me. That just meant the world,” Tyler said.
Father and son will squeeze in as much quality time as they can to make it last until Tyler comes back home for good.
“I’m here for two weeks, 15 days. We’re going to get in as much as we can, enjoy holiday, Thanksgiving, his birthday and do a lot of hanging out,” Tyler said.
At first Byron said he worried he wouldn’t recognize him if he ever saw him again, because he thought his dad might look old.
But he said he still looks the same as he did in the pictures he had at home.
Tyler will complete his tour in one more year.
Watch the full raw video of the surprise here.