Soldier in Viral Photo Finally Identified

A soldier shown saluting a funeral procession in a viral photo that made its way around social media earlier in the month in Kentucky said that he “didn’t give it a second thought” when he got out of his car in the rain to salute.

According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Col. Jack L. Usrey, a Nashville-based army adviser, has been identified as the military man in a photo that’s been shared over 100,000 times and seen over a million times.

“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,” Erin Hester of Vine Grove, Kentucky posted on July 6.

“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.”

Ursey, who is based at the Tennessee National Guard Headquarters in Nashville, says he was driving from Fort Knox in Kentucky when he saw the procession.

“I didn’t really think,” Usrey told the paper. “I just did what my parents taught me to do growing up.”

“I stopped, got out, saluted the police escort and held my salute as the hearse and family passed by, then went on my way and didn’t give it a second thought.”

The mystery was solved when a mutual friend of Hester and Usrey put the two in contact with one another, which allowed Hester to thank Usrey for his act via phone.

Part of a solider’s profession involves dealing intimately with death, so it’s natural that a soldier would respect the rituals that surround it. But a show of respect like this for a perfect stranger is something everyone can appreciate.

An amazing end to a truly heartwarming story. We salute you, Col. Usrey.

H/T Stars and Stripes

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