In what started as an ordinary drive home in the rain in Kentucky, soon became a viral inspiration. Last Thursday, while Erin Hester was driving on her lunch break in her hometown of Vine Grove, Kentucky (near Fort Knox Army Base), she saw a soldier get out of his jeep and stand at attention at a passing funeral procession — a moment she posted on Facebook.
“As soon as he got out of the car, it made me tear up,” Hester told Fox News. Hester wrote on 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.”
Kentucky state traffic law states that funeral processions have the right-of-way at intersections when accompanied by flashing lights or an escort. “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, who normally doesn’t make her Facebook posts public, made an exception for this image, she told CNN. The post has been shared more than 120,000 times already and commenters have thanked Hester for sharing this moment, and calling this unknown soldier a “class act” and a “hero.”
One commenter wrote on her Instagram photo, “A picture is worth a thousand words, this one only needs one ‘Respect!'” Another wrote on Facebook, “Respect earns respect. Some of the people in this country should learn from this gentleman! The military deserves respect!” While Hester doesn’t know the soldier’s identity, she told CNN that she feels “he will not want recognition as this is probably something that is a part of his core values and does this on a regular basis.”
“I feel pretty confident that there isn’t a military rule that soldiers have to do this,” Hester’s now-viral post continued. “This made my heart happy to see the amount of respect that this gentleman showed a family that he doesn’t even know.”