A photo of a U.S. soldier standing outside his car in the pouring rain during a funeral procession was shared by thousands on social media in 2017. Although the incident is a few years old, it never ceases to be something that reaches the heart. It’s all about respect.
Erin Hester, who took the photo while sitting at an intersection on a highway in Vine Grove, Kentucky, said she was “completely touched” by the experience.
“We had come to a red light when the intersection was blocked by our local police department,” Hester told CNN. “The procession lasted at least a minute and he stood the entire time at attention.”
Hester decided to share the post on her Facebook account. Within a few days, the photo had racked up thousands of likes and shares. People were eager to pay tribute to this kind act after seeing the viral picture.
Hester wrote on her Facebook: “I was so completely touched by this today. A funeral procession was passing by and this soldier got out of his jeep to stand at attention in the pouring rain. I always get frustrated when I see cars that don’t pull to the side and stop for a procession, but this gentlemen went above and beyond.
“I feel pretty confident that there isn’t a military rule that soldiers have to do this. This made my heart happy to see the amount of respect that this gentleman showed a family that he doesn’t even know. #values #respect.”
Stopping a car or refraining from passing during a procession is not only a gesture of gratitude, but it is also the rule in Kentucky.
According to the state’s traffic laws, “a vehicle in a funeral procession has the right-of-way at an intersection and may proceed through the intersection if the procession is led by an escort vehicle displaying flashing yellow, red, or blue lights.”
WHASII was finally able to track down the soldier who performed the touching act after the post went viral. Col Jack L. Usrey, the Senior Army Advisor of the Tennessee Army National Guard, was identified.
“I also owe it to my parents, Jim and Judy Usrey, from Martin, Tennessee,” he said, refusing to acknowledge the praise. “They taught me to do this from when I have memory.”
“I’m humbled and surprised at the reaction to such a simple gesture. My first thoughts were about how the bad weather can’t be helping how the family feels and I was hoping my small action would let them know we care.”
Check out the heartwarming video below: