Emotional video of a World War II veteran “having one of the best days of his life” after being honored by chief selects in front of his Gardena home recently has touched many people after being widely viewed and shared online.
The veteran in the video, Ernest Thompson, served on the USS Missouri during the second world war, according to Jonathan Williams, the CEO of the Battleship Iowa Museum and the man’s grandson.
Williams recalled in a Facebook comment under the viral video that Thompson regularly visited the USS Iowa, which is the sister-ship to the USS Missouri and located approximately 15 minutes from the veteran’s house.
Due to health reasons, however, Thompson — now in his 90s — has been unable to visit the ship, according to the Battleship Iowa news release.
With the help of volunteer coordinators, the chief selects from the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center visited Thompson’s home and sang the Navy’s march song, “Anchors Aweigh” in the middle of his residential street.
While the singing went on, Thompson stood and saluted, “inspiring those around him,” the release stated.
The remarkable thing, according to a spokesman for the museum, is that Thompson had a fall earlier this year and had not been able to walk or stand since then.
After the singing concluded, the chief selects walked one-by-one up to Thompson on the veteran’s porch to shake his hand.
“My grandfather told me that it was one of the best days of his life,” Williams wrote on Facebook.
The video, posted by Williams on Aug. 13, has gone viral, with more than 95,000 shares and over 4.3 million views as of Tuesday morning.
“I am so surprised and overwhelmed at the attention that it has received. I was so incredibly impacted by this that I felt other veterans should be able to experience this too,” Williams said in the release.
Thompson was aboard the USS Tennessee when Pearl Harbor was attacked and later witnessed Japan surrender when he was on the USS Missouri, according to the release.
Man this shit breaks me down into pieces. Joining a gang because you want to fit in with a bunch of outcast misfits is one thing. Joining a football team to learn about team work is another thing. Joining apart of the United States Armed Forces because a global war is happening and it’s your duty to serve knowing you can die and leave behind your family to protect the lives of the innocent is a whole other thing entirely. On the surface if you looked out your window and see a bunch of dudes singing to a guy, you would think that it’s weird and embarrassing for the guy. Well not when its the Navy Marching Song being sung to a Navy War Vet. And when I say War Vet, I mean War Vet. Guy lived through the start of Pearl Harbor all the way through till the day America made Japan kowtow to us. Incredible. Its the pinnacle of a fraternity that I know I could never be apart of and if given the opportunity, I wouldn’t last. Just don’t have the stuff Ernest Thompson has. So hopefully all I can do is use this blog post as a salute to him and all that Vets do and did for us.