It was a Memorial Day memory that many of the 42,000 fans who attended Monday's Braves games won't forget anytime soon.
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. David Sims delivered a memorable video message to his family from Afghanistan on the Turner Field jumbotron. The special statement was part of the Braves weekly "hometown heroes" celebration. While Sims was talking in the distance, his wife Robin and the couple's four children watched from the scoreboard from the first base line.
"I love you so much, I miss you, I hope you're having fun watching the Atlanta Braves," Sims said in the video, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. “I can’t wait to be with you again. In fact, wait one minute.”
Then abracadabra, Sims walked out of the Braves dugout and onto the field when his children ages 10-13, spotted dad and sprinted for an emotional family hug in front of the packed crowd watching the game with the Cardinals.
Sims, stationed at Robins Air Force Base, spent 24 hours traveling from the middle east back to Georgia. He had stops in Kurdistan, Germany, Ireland and Baltimore before ending up at Turner Field. The family ended up receiving VIP treatment from the Braves. Watching the remainder of the game next to the Braves dugout in the owner's box.
This wasn't the first unexpected return from Master Sgt. Sims, his wife says he's thrown the family a curveball before, if you will.
"I had a suspicion, but he still surprised me in the end," she told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I thought he would be here. I watch one too many television shows and one of my favorite ones is 'Coming Home.' And last time he deployed he came home in a Christmas box, so it’s not past him to surprise me."
Sims credited his wife for holding the family together while he's been serving his country. "I have such love and respect for my wife, because for the past six months she has done such a fantastic job of taking care of the kids and the house and being responsible without me. I'm so proud of her and she is my hero."
It was a magical day for this Military family who had plans to visit a burger joint after the game. Sims said he wanted to grub on some "American food," with a "greasy burger" being the focus of his appetite.
Sims, from a military family, has served 14 years and counting.
-- Follow Ben Maller on Twitter @BenMaller.
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