Respect for our country and our troops seems to have fallen by the wayside in recent years, but patriotism is not dead. There are still those who take pride in our country and show the members of our military – those who have self-sacrificially put their own lives on the line – the honor they deserve.
Kristen Collins got to see this firsthand when she and her family drove to the cemetery to bury her grandfather, Fred Ladage.
Fred joined the Navy when he was just 17 years old – he celebrated his 18th birthday while he was in boot camp. He served in the Navy and Navy Reserves during WWII.
Thankfully, he made it out alive and lived a wonderful life. He was married for 61 years and he and his wife raised a beautiful family together. When he passed away at the age of 91 he had 17 great-grandchildren!
As the family drove to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri, something caught Kristen’s eye on the side of the road.
A truck driver had gotten out of his vehicle and was standing on the side of the road in the freezing weather.
At first glance, Kristen thought he might be having some car trouble, but then she noticed what he was doing.
“He saluted as the hearse drove by, and then held his hand over his heart, as the rest of the procession passed,” Kristen said, adding, “I immediately started crying.”
After the funeral, she talked with other members of her family who had also been touched by the man’s actions.
“[I]t was a total tear-jerker!” Kristen said. “We couldn’t believe someone would stand out in the 12 degree weather, just feet from interstate traffic, to honor an unknown fallen soldier… How precious was that sight!”
“For that moment, everything about my grandfather, about his legacy and life, was important,” she added.
Amazingly, Kristen was able to track down the man, whose name is Bradley Faulkner, and invite him to her home. It turns out he is an Army veteran who served for 9 years and did a tour in Iraq.
“I found and got to personally thank this man for showing such great honor!” Kristen said.
Bradley’s actions that day touched not only Kristen and her family, but thousands of people around the world who saw Kristen’s post.
This is how we should honor all of our soldiers and veterans. Thank you, Bradley, for giving us such a beautiful and powerful example to follow!
Were you touched by the way Bradley honored this fallen veteran? Then share it!