Cpl. Josh Hargis was seriously injured by a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan and hospitalized. When his commanding officer awarded him the Purple Heart, Hargis made an astonishing move and issued a salute that has now gone viral.
Hargis was seemingly unconscious when his commanding officer arrived to award him with the Purple Heart and pin it to his blanket. However, Hargis managed to raise his arm against the wishes of his doctors and all the medical equipment in his arm, to salute his superior.
"Despite his wounds, wrappings, tubes and pain, Josh fought the doctor who was trying to restrain his right arm and rendered the most beautiful salute any person in that room had ever seen. I cannot impart on you the level of emotion that poured through the intensive care unit that day," the commander wrote in a letter to Hargis' family.
"Grown men began to weep and we were speechless at a gesture that speaks volumes about Josh's courage and character. The picture, which we believe belongs on every news channel and every newspaper, is attached. I have it hanging above my desk now and will remember it as the single greatest even I have witnessed in my ten years in the Army," he concluded.
Hargis' wife, Taylor, posted the letter and photo to Facebook, where it instantly went viral. It has also been posted on GuardianofValor.com, which called it the "salute seen around the world."
"Please continue to share Josh's story," Taylor posted on Facebook. "Thank you to all who have and are reaching out and helping us through this. The world should know what is happening over seas. The world should know what true heroes and warriors are."
The couple is expecting their first child and is hopeful that Josh will continue to make progress in his rehabilitation. The fact that he was able to salute, and fought doctors to do so, show that he has a fighting spirit, which is a good sign.