A U.S. Marine got the gift of a lifetime when he returned from Afghanistan to find that his son Michael, 6, had learned to walk.
The heartwarming event was recorded as it unfolded in a North Carolina school gymnasium, as Staff Sgt. Jeremy Cooney believed his son's cerebral palsy would keep him from being able to move without assistance for his entire life.
'We kept the fact that he could walk a secret the whole time his dad was gone,' wife Melissa Cooney told the Welcome Home Blog.
As the boy's father enters the gymnasium, he looks around for his family until he spies his son.
'Michael!' he shouts over the soundtrack of We Are The Champions by Queen. 'What's up buddy?'
Sgt. Cooney crouches down and watches his smiling boy walk across the gym floor to his father.
'When my husband left on his deployment, our 6-year-old son could not walk on his own. He has cerebral palsy,' Mrs Cooney said.
She said that doctors told the family that he would never walk or be able to do much on his own.
'While daddy was away, he learned to walk,' Mrs Cooney said.
Sgt. Cooney was deployed in Afghanistan for seven months.
'For his homecoming, we set it up for Michael to walk to his daddy for the first time ever.'
As the boy draws nearer, his father leans forward and sweeps him up into a big hug.
The happy father of six holds him tightly, kissing his head, before greeting the rest of his children.
'Your children are so very proud of you,' an announcer says over the loudspeaker.
The marine admires the posters his daughters have made for him in his absence.
Sgt. Cooney then gives his wife her long-awaited kiss.
'We knew he had it in him to walk,' Mrs Cooney said. 'It was just a matter of time.'