when I was a child, my parents taught-me the importance of treating others with civility and consideration
They understood the value of respect in particular situations, and I grew up with a similar sense of purpose.
That’s why I was moved when I saw a photo of a single American soldier standing to attention in the storm. The photographer had every right to share the image with the rest of the world, and I’m grateful they did.
The photo went viral, which is unsurprising given the number of people who wanted to honour the soldier.
But it was what he responded to when he was identified that spoke volume about his character…
It was the 6th of July, 2017. Erin Hester was sitting at a highway crossroads in Vine Grove, Kentucky.
She noticed a soldier outside, standing at attention in the pouring rain. She stood there, perplexed, for a while, watching him before understanding there was a funeral procession passing by. He was saluting this, even though he wasn’t in the parade and didn’t know the deceased. Hester knew she needed to capture the event on camera. Her photo was shared on social media, where it received good feedback.
“I was so profoundly touched by this today,” Hester posted on Facebook. When a funeral procession passed, this soldier exited his jeep and stood at attention in the pouring rain. I’m always annoyed when automobiles don’t pull over to the side and stop for a procession, but this gentleman went above and beyond. I’m sure there isn’t a military rule requiring soldiers to do this. My heart was thrilled by the amount of respect that this gentleman exhibited to a family that he had no prior knowledge of.
The soldier has been identified.
After her article went viral, WHASII was able to track down the soldier who performed the touching act. The Senior Army Advisor of the Tennessee Army National Guard, Col Jack L. Usrey, was recognized.
“I owe it to my parents, Jim and Judy Usrey, who live in Martin, Tennessee,” he added, reluctant to accept credit for his accomplishments. “They taught me to do this from the time I was able to remember.” The response to such a modest gesture has humbled and shocked me. My immediate thoughts were that the awful weather couldn’t be helping the family’s mood, and I hoped that my tiny gesture would show them that we care.”
Col. Usrey may try to downplay his gesture, but we believe it’s pretty outstanding and a fantastic way to show respect.