Newly commissioned officers begin their careers at the rank of O-1 or “second lieutenant”. Whether their rank is obtained through the Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) or Officer Candidate School (OCS), the tradition remains the same that a newly commissioned officer decides which person will receive their first salute. Traditions vary somewhat at this point. That said, it is common for the person offering the first salute to give the recipient a US silver dollar. Regardless, the moment can be very poignant for both the giver and receiver.
Such was the case for 2nd Lieutenant Williams who was approached by her veteran grandfather. Age had taken its toll on the elderly man whose arms had noticeably diminished with time. What hadn’t faded was the retiree’s recollection of proper military protocol. Stepping in front of his granddaughter, he brought his right hand up to a salute which she then promptly followed with a salute of her own.
Next, he announced himself as Staff Sergeant Williams of the 1st Division. In doing so, he requested permission to hug his granddaughter, Lieutenant Williams. Naturally, she granted his request and the two embraced warmly. During their embrace, he gave her paternal kiss on her check as he patted her back.
Watch the video and prepare to have your heart strings tugged. It may only be a simple hug, but sometimes the simplest gestures in life represent the culmination of months or years of sacrifice. Such was the case for this family celebrating generations of service to the country.