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Wow! This Gave Me Chills! What Awesome Runners!

This video has gone viral on social media, and if you haven’t seen it yet, it will fill your heart with love and pride. As a Vietnam veteran, when I see this now, after the often painful and negative receptions that we got on our return home, it brings me to tears of joy.

This is a spontaneous act by young people who are in a fund raising race in honor of a fallen hero, Pat Tillman, a pro football player turned Army Ranger, who died in Afghanistan ten years ago. They see 95-year-old WWII veteran Joe Bell dressed in his uniform, sitting in a folding chair and watching the race. He was there to cheer the runners on and to thank them for what they were doing in honor of a fallen hero.

Suddenly, instinctively, one runner ran up onto the sidewalk to shake the old man’s hand and to thank him for his service. Then others saw him and began, one after another, to leave the race course to honor that old man in the Army uniform.

It is good to see that people have been able to separate the warrior from the war, to see beyond their political views, to understand and to honor the sacrifices our military men and women have endured on behalf of the nation. These are simple gestures, but I can’t tell you what they mean to me to see them done in such a spontaneous and real way.

Thanks to all who stopped to honor this old veteran. And thanks to him and all who have served, suffered and died to defend this nation.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.