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Celebration planned for birthday of freed hostage

Tuesday - 2/5/2013, 2:31pm  ET

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) -- School officials in Alabama say they plan to have a party to celebrate the sixth birthday of the boy who was rescued yesterday after being held hostage for nearly a week in an underground bunker.

The boy's birthday is tomorrow, but officials haven't set a date for the party.

The celebration, probably at the high school football field, will also honor the memory of Charles Poland. He was the school bus driver who was credited as a hero for his efforts to protect the nearly two dozen children who were on the bus when it was boarded last week by a gunman. Authorities say Jimmy Lee Dykes shot and killed the driver and abducted the five-year-old boy.

Dykes then held the child in the bunker until authorities stormed in yesterday, leaving Dykes dead and rescuing the child.

The FBI and other authorities are leaving plenty of questions unanswered about how they made the call to rush in, and what happened inside the hideout during the raid.

The principal of the boy's school says he and his colleagues are eagerly awaiting the boy's return, though he doesn't know when that will be.

For now, family members say he's happy to be back with them, and has been playing with his old toys.

%@AP Links

028-w-40-(Carlotta Bradley, AP correspondent, with Stephen Richardson, special agent in charge, FBI, Mobile, Alabama, Division)--Authorities won't be giving away all the secrets they used to rescue an Alabama boy from a man in a bunker. AP correspondent Carlotta Bradley reports. (5 Feb 2013)

<> 00:40

063-a-06-(Josh Tucker, resident, in AP interview)-"in our hometown"-Midland City resident Josh Tucker says he's happy the ordeal ended without the little boy being hurt. (5 Feb 2013)

<> 00:06 "in our hometown"

137-a-10-(State Senator Harri Anne Smith, I-Ala., in interview)-"brave little boy"-Alabama state Senator Harri Anne Smith says she stayed in touch with the boy's family throughout the ordeal. COURTESY: NBC's "Today" show ((mandatory on-air credit)) (5 Feb 2013)

<> 00:10 "brave little boy"

APPHOTO ALDOT102: Federal and local law enforcement officers gather at their trucks after the hostage crisis ended in Midland City, Ala., on Monday afternoon, Feb. 4, 2013. Officials say they stormed a bunker in Alabama to rescue a 5-year-old child being held hostage there after his abductor was seen with a gun. (AP Photo/The Dothan Eagle, Jay Hare) (4 Feb 2013)


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