How many of us have been in a situation where all we wanted was a kind sentence, a pat on the shoulder, or somebody who could sit with us in our moments of distress without speaking? Losing a family member, a friend, or someone close is never comfortable.
During those heart-wrenching moments, all we want is somebody to comfort us in the most heart-touching way. A funeral is an occasion that is particularly traumatizing for the family and those who attend it. People often struggle to find the right words to console a devastated family.
But while there are some people out there who know precisely how a small gesture can mean the world to someone, the US soldier Colonel Jack Ellis Ray is undoubtedly aware of the respect needed to be given to a mourning family. An arresting sight was witnessed by Aaron Hester on the 6th of July in 2017 at an intersection on the highway at Kentucky, captured by her personal camera.
The sight left the entire nation open-mouthed. As it was raining heavily, the roads were filled with traffic, and cars moved on the way half-hazardly. During this chaotic situation, Erin Hester was thrilled to see a soldier standing outside his car when all the cars were rushing to escape the rain and reach their destinations.
She was eager to know the conditions which led this gentleman to stand unequipped during such heavy rainfall in thunderstorms. Her surprise turned into an awestruck reaction when she witnessed that the soldier stood there to pay his respect to a funeral procession. It gave her goosebumps to think about how the rainy weather could not wash away his upbringing, morals, and principles. As the funeral passed by, Colonel Jack stood there with his Jeep parked at one side of the road. His emotions overtook the impact of the strong winds blowing in the highway as rain poured all over the city and forced Erin Hester to capture this moment in a photograph.
This photograph later made its impact on social media when Erin uploaded it on her Instagram and Facebook accounts. The results were even more surprising as her posts were able to gain the attention of a vast number of people. 130,000 people shared through their social media pages, and 184 thousand likes were saved by this heartwarming post. Soon, this post went viral, and TV channels began looking at the superhero who did not wear a cape. After a little bit of struggle, WHAS 11 News was able to get a hold of Colonel Jack and invited him for an interview to share his strikingly positive point of view and perception with others.
During the interview, Colonel Jack shed some light upon his act, which attracted millions of people, and told WHAS 11 News that, according to him, it was not something extraordinary, as no sorrow or grief can be higher than that of losing a loved one. However, in such a harsh world where people do not stop honking the horn without thinking of some emergency the next car could be facing, this soldier’s act deserved all of the limelight it received.
In conversation with Colonel Jack, he admitted that his action was undoubtedly a result of his upbringing, and he gave his parents credit, Jim and Judy, who raised him right. He stated how during his childhood, his parents made sure he respected the living as well as the ones who passed away, so standing for a funeral procession was not something he would think about twice. It came naturally.
This shows that even though the world appreciated and applauded his behavior during the funeral procession, he considered it healthy and ethical human behavior. He stated, “I am humbled and surprised at the reaction to such a simple gesture. My first thoughts were about how bad the weather can’t be helping, how this family feels, and I was hoping my small action would let them know we care.”
This proves that he has a high level of empathy even for strangers, which is a result of a good upbringing as well as his daily life experiences, which carved him into such a gentleman. As nature and nurture go hand in hand, furthermore, in his interview, he mentioned that his gesture was quite simple and did not deserve all the praise it received.
Although we are well aware that the ones who pass away earn all our respect, love, and prayers, only a certain percentage of people among us actually make use of this awareness in our practical lives. Where we are just running to make ends meet, we often forget that our little actions can leave an everlasting impact, not only on a specific family but the whole of mankind. In a world where people forget to make way for a funeral procession, this sight undoubtedly deserves a massive round of applause. Although Jack might try to downplay his appreciable gesture, we must not forget to give him due credit. It will resurrect the feelings of empathy, and we will realize that honoring the deceased is as important as accepting the ones who are alive.
Well, that’s it for today.