My parents instilled in me the value of treating others with respect and decency when I was a youngster.

They were aware of the need for respect in certain circumstances, and I had a similar feeling of purpose growing up.

Because of this, I was affected when I saw a picture of a lone American soldier saluting in a storm. I’m glad the photographer did since they had every right to share the picture with the rest of the globe.

Colonel Jack Usrey, Official Military Photo

Given the number of individuals who wished to pay tribute to the soldier, it is not unexpected that the picture became popular.

However, what he said after being recognized spoke much about his character.


The date was July 6, 2017. Erin Hester was waiting at a highway intersection in Vine Grove, Kentucky.

She observed a soldier outside in the pouring rain standing at attention. She stared at him for a long, bewildered, before realizing that a funeral procession was going by. Even though he wasn’t in the march and didn’t know the dead, he was saluting this. Hester was aware that she had to record the incident on film. Her picture was posted on social media, where it garnered favorable comments.

“I was so profoundly touched by this today,” Hester made a Facebook post.

This soldier got out of his vehicle and stood at attention as a funeral procession passed while it was pouring rain. Although I find it annoying when cars don’t stop and pull to the side for the procession, this guy went above and above. There is probably no military regulation forcing troops to do this.

The level of respect this guy showed to a family he was unfamiliar with made my heart sing.

The soldier’s identity is known.


Following her essay’s publication, WHASII could locate the soldier who had carried out the compassionate deed. Col. Jack L. Usrey, the senior army advisor for the Tennessee Army National Guard, was honored.

“I owe it to my parents, Jim and Judy Usrey, who live in Martin, Tennessee,” He continued, hesitant to claim credit for his achievements.

“They taught me to do this from the time I could remember. The response to such a modest gesture has humbled and shocked me. I immediately thought the awful weather couldn’t be helping the family’s mood, and I hoped my tiny gesture would show them that we care.”

Col. Usrey may attempt to belittle his act, but we think it’s a terrific way to show respect.

A picture of Tennessee National Guard Col. Jack Usrey saluting a funeral procession while standing outside his vehicle in the pouring rain has gone viral. VINE GROVE, KENTUCKY (CLARKSVILLENOW) — The soldier in the viral picture saluting a funeral procession while standing in the rain has been recognized. Colonel Jack L. Usrey, Senior Army Advisor to the Adjutant General at Tennessee National Guard Headquarters in Nashville, is the soldier in the picture, according to the TN National Guard. Last week, while travelling from Ft. Knox, KY, Col. Usrey saw a funeral procession, pulled over, got out of his car, and paid his respects to the dead.

“I didn’t really think,” Usrey told National Guard officials. “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.”

Erin Hester of Vine Grove, Kentucky, took the image on July 6th and posted it on Facebook and Instagram. The image has now gone viral. Since then, the image has earned more than 8,600 comments, approximately 130,000 shares, and more than 187,000 likes.

Hester stated in a Facebook post,

 “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 gentleman went above and beyond. I feel confident that there isn’t a military rule that soldiers must 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.”

“Two days later, I saw the photo hit Facebook – since then it’s exploded,” Usrey said.

“It’s baffling to me that something so simple caused so much attention. I guess it goes to show how simple it would be for our Nation to be more united if we just treated each other using the Golden Rule.”

A mutual acquaintance contacted Hester at Ft. Knox, who assured her they recognized the guy in the picture and advised her to get in touch with Col. Usrey. Using a phone, the photographer and the image’s subject are connected. Hester was able to thank everyone on Thursday personally.

In 1988, Col. Usrey joined the Tennessee Army National Guard as an enlisted Soldier in Union City, Tennessee. Col. Usrey spent 25 years on active service as an Armor and Adjutant General officer after graduating from the University of Tennessee at Martin’s ROTC program with honors. His duties included those of a tank platoon commander, an executive officer, and an assistant secretary of the army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs).

He has held positions with the 82nd Airborne Division, III Corps, the Combined Arms Support Command, the 1st Armored Division, Special Operations Command Pacific, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, and the 82nd Airborne Division. Operation (RESTORE) UPHOLD DEMOCRACY, Joint Task Force-Bravo, Operation JOINT GUARDIAN, Operation IRAQI FREEDOM I, Operation IRAQI FREEDOM 07-09, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM XII, and Operation ENDURING FREEDOM XIV are just a few of Col. Usrey’s operational and combat deployments.

Martin, Tennessee native Col. Usrey has served in the military for more than 29 years.



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