It was a rainy, somber day in Killeen, Texas—weather perfectly befitting for a funeral. For every cloud, though, as the saying goes, there is a silver lining. And on that particular day, it was a lone soldier standing at attention who managed to shine a light through the gloom.
Zachary Rummings was part of a burial procession for a retired Army Command Sergeant whom he had once served under. They were heading down Highway 195. The rain was pelting down, and conditions were miserable. That was when Rummings saw something that really lifted his spirits.
A pickup truck on the opposite side of the highway suddenly pulled onto the grassy center median. A young man got out of the driver’s side, and standing at attention, he offered a firm salute in their direction.
That man’s name was Kenneth Varnes, a soldier himself, who had seen American flags that sometimes accompanied funerals, and so he knew this must have been for a fellow serviceman.
With a long line of patrol cars and vehicles with American flags hanging from their side windows, Kenneth Varnes, a Fort…
Varnes, who was stationed at Fort Hood, later said, “I don’t care if they were 80 years old, they were in World War II, they were in Vietnam, they were in Iraq, I don’t care if they were 20,” KWTX reported. “It’s a brotherhood.
“This is probably going to make someone’s day, seeing me stand here, and I know how it is to go through a tough time like that, and I really just did it just to make someone’s day, that was it.”
Varnes also mentioned that it was pouring when he first got out of his truck, but that changed to a light drizzle as he silently stood there. “As soon as I got back in the truck, it poured again, which was really cool,” Varnes said.
My new reason for celebrating MEMORIAL DAY, love you son, thank you for your services, ONE PROUD ARMY DAD
Later, Rummings shared the photo online, where it garnered praise from numerous military family members who expressed their appreciation toward the gesture. Rummings shared his own personal feelings in the caption:
[…] My eyes began to swell with tears and my heart grew with pride. Not only was he representing Fort Hood in such a positive manner, but I felt that this young man displays all of the Army Values that were taught to each and every Soldier—past, present and future—and he should be a model for what we expect from each and every one of our Soldiers.
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