A solider from Fort Hood, Texas, stepped from his truck in the pouring rain last week and stood at attention while a funeral procession for a military veteran passed slowly by. A photo of the soldier’s devotion has gone viral and is showing everyone just what real patriotism actually looks like.
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“I don’t care if they were 80 years old, they were in World War II, they were in Vietnam, they were in Iraq, I don’t care if they were 20,” Kenneth Varnes told KWTX. “It’s brotherhood.”
The rain, Varnes said, was inconsequential. He was saluting the veteran, but his gesture had another meaning. “This is probably going to make someone’s day, seeing me stand here, and I know how it is to go through a tough time like that, and I really just did it just to make someone’s day, that was it,” he said. He was showing empathy for the family, too, and letting them know that the sacrifices they made with their loved one mattered.
He stood in the rain long enough for the storm to let up, though it began pouring again as soon as he was back in his truck. “As soon as I got back in the truck, it poured again, which was really cool,” Varnes said.
Zachary Rummings saw Varnes saluting the procession from across the street. He took the picture and posted it to a Facebook group, asking the community if they recognized the young man.
“In a funeral procession for a retired soldier and he stood in the rain the entire time and saluted,” Rummings wrote. “Hats off and respect to that young man. Thank you.”
He was recognized, quickly, and has been inspiring people since.