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They say a picture is worth a thousand words ... and when you look at this one, you'll quickly understand what that cliche means. This salute by an Army Ranger is so incredibly heartwarming, inspiring, and heroic, it's no wonder that this image has moved grown men to tears.
Cpl. Josh Hargis’ commander was going to reward the soldier, who was seemingly unconscious, the Purple Heart for his injures -- Hargis suffered serious wounds after a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan. As his commander pinned the medal to the Ranger's blanket, something amazing happened ...
Hargis raised his arm to salute his commander all while he was struggling with his doctors, bandages, and medical tubes.
What an awesome moment and it's wonderful how much attention Hargis's story and photo are getting. On October 6, an Afghan woman detonated a suicide bomb vest. It killed four members of the 3rd Army Ranger Battalion and wounded 12 others. Hargis, 24, was taken to a nearby hospital, where he had to be hooked up to a breathing tube. When his commander arrived to present the medal, no one expected any kind of response.
"Josh had just come out of surgery. Everyone in the room, probably about 50 people, figured he was unconscious," Taylor Hargis, his wife, said. Military protocol dictates that one salutes when receiving the Purple Heart. Even his doctor tried to restrain him to no avail. “He was just showing what it means to be a warrior and an American soldier,” Taylor said. Hargis is now en route from an American military hospital in Germay, then he'll eventually be hospitalized in San Antonio, Texas.
The commander sent the picture and a note to Taylor, and both spread through social media like wildfire. His letter truly says it all; here it is in its entirety:
Josh was seriously wounded as you know and survived for almost two hours after his injury before arriving to the hospital. Josh was immediately pushed through a series of surgeries and emerged hours later into an intensive care unit here at our base in Afghanistan.
Despite being in intense pain and mental duress, Josh remained alert and compassionate to the limited Rangers that were allowed to visit him bedside. Prior to Josh being moved to Germany for his eventual flight to America, we conducted a ceremony to award him with the Purple Heart for wounds received in action.
A simple ceremony, you can picture a room full of Rangers, leaders, doctors, and nurses surrounding his bedside while the Ranger Regimental Commander pinned the Purple Heart to his blanket. During the presentation the Commander publishes the official orders verbally and leaned over Josh to thank him for his sacrifice.
Josh, whom everybody in the room (over 50 people) assumed to be unconscious, began to move his right arm under the blanket in a diligent effort to salute the Commander as is customary during these ceremonies. Despite his wounds, wrappings, tubes, and pain, Josh fought the doctor who was trying to restrain his right arm and rendered the most beautiful salute any person in that room had ever seen. I cannot impart on you the level of emotion that poured through the intensive care unit that day.
Grown men began to weep and we were speechless at a gesture that speak volumes about Josh's courage and character. The picture, which we believe belongs on every news channel and every newspaper, is attached. I have it hanging above my desk now and will remember it as the single greatest event I have witnessed in my ten years in the Army.
The image and note were posted on Facebook on October 12, and Josh's simple yet noble gesture has been called "the salute seen around the world."
Such an amazing image, which embodies the strength, honor, integrity, tenacity, fortitude, and resilience of our American soldiers. Best wishes to Josh for a speedy recovery, Taylor, who is expecting their first child, and everyone who serves.
What do you think of "the salute seen around the world"?
Image via Facebook