This Soldier Stands At Attention In The Pouring Rain Proving That Compassion And Honor Go Hand-In-Hand

Photo: Facebook
soldier stands at attention during a funeral procession

This should serve as a lesson to us all.

Lately, it seems like in the news, on the internet, and through social we are bombarded with terrible, depressing and upsetting things happening all around the world.

When was the last time you saw something that made you think, “wow, good people really DO exist” after watching a viral video or looking at a news photo? Positivity can be hard to come by in a world full of hate, racism, politics and wars.

But there’s been a viral picture making it's way around lately.

As the caption tells us, this unnamed soldier stopped his vehicle in the pouring rain to honor and salute a funeral procession driving past him through an intersection.

When was the last time you saw someone do THAT? I can tell you the one and only time I saw traffic stop completely for a procession, and it was at least 10 years ago.

We all get so caught up in our day to day lives, we hardly even notice the cars that drive past us, let alone where they’re going to.

It used to be extremely common for people to pull over, get out of their cars, and take off their hats to mourn for the procession going by — it didn't matter whether or not the people knew who had passed. It's a sign of respect that somehow seems to have been slowly forgotten.

It’s far more common in the south, but it happens everywhere, yet we notice it less and less.

Why? Why do we seem to be so caught up in ourselves, that the passing of a family mourning someone they love doesn’t even warrant us to AT LEAST pull over or turn on our lights?

When Erin Hester posted this picture on Facebook, she had no idea that it was going to get so much attention. But the reason we all feel drawn to Erin’s post is that we completely agree, and it's a sign that not all news has to be awful.

It’s a heartwarming photo and shows an honest, respectful response to grief.

This soldier knows this grief — as many of us do. You can see it in the way he’s standing in the rain, despite having his own agenda, his own places to be.

His small act of respect will mean more to that family than he will ever know.

The point is, he did something that was 100% out of compassion and empathy, with nothing to benefit him. He had no idea that Erin would take a picture of him. He didn’t know millions of people would see his photo and praise his actions.

Because in that moment, it was not about him.

Erin shared in her caption of the photo, “This made my heart happy to see the amount of respect that this gentleman showed a family that he doesn't even know."

In a way, we have desensitized ourselves. Funerals, processions, and wakes of people we don’t even know, don’t really bother most people.

We all have our own lives to worry about, and sure, it’s sad, but unless we're directly affected, then it's difficult to care.

Until it happens to us.

In the comments below the photo, many people shared not only how much they love Erin’s response and the man’s respect, but also their own personal stories.  

“My brother was only 10 when he passed away. I don't remember much about the day & days following. I do not remember the wake, or the funeral. I do remember the man, walking with a heavy backpack stop, removing his cap and place it over his heart while he waited for the procession to end. It is a memory I will carry with me to my own grave,” Jessica Trammel shared.

Compassion. That’s all it takes.

I get it, it is SO much easier to feel nothing rather than feeling the heaviness of grief, especially when you don’t have to.

But those people driving the procession, the ones dressed in black, the ones who lost a mother, father, brother, sister, or maybe a best friend; they aren’t afforded the luxury of ignorance anymore.

I have been on both ends of the procession, and I can tell you that the compassion of a stranger carries more weight than you would think.

Just ONE photo has already started a huge conversation. Hopefully, this little slice of hope re-starts this compassionate trend.

Remember this the next time you see a funeral procession or any sort of public grieving. Will you choose to stand in solidarity? Or continue on with your day? And what if that was YOUR grief?

Pay a little more attention, and you could make a difference in someone else’s life.