Father meets his son for first time in 40 years at SFO

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- For many, the Fourth of July is all about family, but what if you're connecting with your family for the very first time?

There was a special spark in the air at San Francisco International Airport as a Georgia man met his dad -- a moment he waited for his entire life.

It was the defining moment of Rod Whitaker's life. He was born in Georgia in 1968. His dad had left for Vietnam, never knowing he had fathered a child.

Fast forward 44 years, Rod became obsessed with finding his father using websites like Ancestry.com and Find Your Kin and bingo -- he hopped a flight to San Francisco to meet his dad and five brothers for the very first time.

"I'm expecting 500 people at this family. So to me, that's mind blowing. And in one place, the potential of that. To go from my mom's only child to hopefully getting in fights about getting hugs on me," Rod said.

Dad: "I think of all the close calls that I had."
Rod: "I'm thinking Vietnam... three times? What are the odds?"
Dad: "Operation Starlite, Hastings, Prairie."
Rod: "What's the odds?"
Dad: "August Moon... injuries. I mean, this far to see my son."
Rod: "That is the most amazing thing."
Dad: "I'll probably believe it tomorrow."

Next is a family reunion on the Fourth of July, which just happens to be Rod's 45th birthday.
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