World War II veteran Joe Bell is 95 now, but he can still fit into his uniform. Occasionally he wears it to the senior center. He wears it on Veteran’s Day. And on Sunday he wore it to stand out front of his home in San Jose to watch the runners go by in the annual Pat Tillman Foundation race. Tillman is the former NFL player who was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan.
The Foundation provides scholarships for veterans and Mr. Bell wanted to honor those who were running to raise money to support it.
Then this happened:
“They hugged me and kissed me and the young men shook my hands,” Joe said. “I never knew there were that many people that would do that.”
“I never got recognition in my life,” he told Julia Prodis Sulek of the San Jose Mercury News. She lives two doors down and shot the video. “I was a jumper in the OSS. That’s all.”
“I thought the video caught a moment in time that was honest,” Joe’s son, Matt, said. “There was nothing staged about it. It was an honest response from honest people. We don’t see that too much.”