Transcript for Retired Army Officer Invited to Graduation of Girl he Saved 18 Years Ago
Finally tonight, as Americans honor and give thanks to those that died serving the country, one soldier was on the border in Iraq and made a split-second decision that changed both of their lives. Tonight, the reunion, and the moment they've been waiting for for so many years. Here's David Wright. Reporter: A heartwarming reunion. You saved the day for us. It was worth it. It was! Absolutely. Reporter: 18 years in the making. Lava barwari was just a baby when her mom, an Iraqi kurd, wound up on saddam hussein's hit list. The U.S. Granted the mother asylum, but the baby's name was not on the list. So, a young lieutenant colonel Greg Peppin improvised. He swept up the baby and claimed she was his. I said my name is Greg, so if the baby's name is Greg it's got a be a relative and that means she can go. Reporter: Mom and baby escaped to Atlanta, where they have lived ever since. Lava barwari grew up a Georgia peach. She never knew her hero, though she'd heard all about him. If it wasn't for him, then like, I wouldn't be here. Me and my mom wouldn't be here. Reporter: Peppin, who went on to work for Boeing, is in his 70s. He was surprised to receive an invitation to attend her high school graduation. The day I got lava's e-mail was one of those signature days that kind of makes your life worthwhile. Reporter: Just in time for memorial day. Having made possible the commencement of one life experience, he's delighted to be there for another. I'm happy you tracked me down. I wouldn't miss this for the world. Reporter: A chance to thank an American hero. David Wright, ABC news, New York. And what a thank you. We thank David for that story. And we thank you for watching. "Gma" first thing tomorrow morning, and David will be right back here tomorrow night. I'm Tom llamas in New York.
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