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Photo of TN Soldier saluting funeral procession goes viral

(WVLT)
Published: Jul. 14, 2017 at 7:32 AM EDT
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A photo of a Soldier saluting a funeral procession while standing in the rain has gone viral.

The Soldier has been identified as Colonel Jack L. Usrey. He's the Senior Army Advisor to the Adjutant General at the Tennessee National Guard Headquarters in Nashville.

While driving from Ft. Knox last week, Col. Usrey got out of his vehicle to pay his respects when he saw a funeral procession.

“I didn’t really think,” said Usrey. “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 photo was taken and shared on social media by Erin Hester of Vine Grove, KY. It has garnered more than 187,000 likes and has been shared nearly 130,000 times.

In her Facebook post, Hester said, "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 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.”

“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.”

He has served in the 82nd Airborne Division, United States Army Recruiting Command, 1st Armored Division, Special Operations Command Pacific, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, 1st Cavalry Division, III Corps, and the Combined Arms Support Command. Col. Usrey's operational and combat deployments include 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.

Col. Usrey is a native of Martin, Tenn. and has more than 29 years of military service.