In June 2014, an 11 year-old boy visited Normandy, France for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. During his visit, he spent four days at the American Cemetery teaching visitors about three paratroopers who were buried there. He did so as part of his own personal project he called “Project Vigil”.
When it came time for the official D-Day celebration, the local authorities did not allow the boy to enter the cemetery in his WWII replica uniform. Instead of being discouraged, he took his American flag to Omaha Beach. There he planted it in the sand.
As he reflected on the events of that day and the brave soldiers who met their fate that day, he was so moved that he raised his hand in salute. Although he struggled to hold the flag steady in the whipping wind, his gaze and salute never wavered.
For over an hour he stood fast in tribute. After a time, he began to draw a crowd. The crowd grew and people began to take pictures with the saluting boy and his American flag. Before long a veteran came and firmly returned the boy’s salute. After a time, a trumpeter from the D-Day 70 Memorial Wind Band joined him on the beach and played a moving rendition of taps.
This patriotic boy did a wonderful thing, and his moving and heartfelt act is an inspiring lesson for other children. His parents or whoever is responsible for teaching him both respect and honor have also done a wonderful thing. As a parent myself, I am humbled by what they have done. Going forward, I will use this as a lesson to teach my children how respect, honor, and history go hand in hand.
You can watch this moving and heartfelt video here: