A Texas soldier stationed at Fort Hood stood in the pouring rain as a funeral procession for a fallen veteran passed by on the highway.
Kenneth Varnes, a construction engineering soldier assigned to Fort Hood, noticed a funeral procession approaching him as he drove along Highway 195 in Kileen, Texas. Recognizing the flags on the vehicles’ windows as a sign of a veteran’s funeral, Varnes exited his vehicle in the pouring rain and stood at attention, saluting the fallen veteran and the family members in the procession.
Zachary Rummings snapped a photo of the soldier standing in the rain to honor a fellow veteran and posted it to Facebook. He asked if anyone recognized the soldier and to let him know who it was so that he could tag him in the picture. “He stood in the rain the entire time and saluted,” Rummings wrote. “Hats off and respect to that young man. Thank you.”
Not long after Rummings’ post, Varnes began receiving messages on social media alerting him to the photo, KWTX CBS10 reported.
“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 told the reporter.
He said it was pouring when he stopped but lightened to a drizzle shortly after. “As soon as I got back in the truck, it poured again, which was really cool,” he explained.
He said that after recognizing it as a veteran’s funeral procession, he did not think twice about his next move. Without even knowing whose funeral was driving by, Varnes honored his fellow vet.
“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,” Varnes continued. “It’s a brotherhood.”
The photo went viral on social media. After posting it on his Facebook page, comments quickly poured in.
A very proud father, Kenneth Varnes, Sr., expressed his pride in his young soldier son. “I am so proud that my son has grew into a very well-mannered young man,his Mom and me taught him no matter what you do in life always have respect, I love you SON. Poppa would be proud of you Son, Young people need to pay attention to this and learn.”
His step-mother, Ashley Jacobs wrote, “My step son has gone viral. Not for attention or recognition but for respect to a soldier and his family. I love you son! I’m proud of the man you’ve become.”
Another Facebook user, Teresita Rey posted, “Please keep sharing this. Let’s make it go viral! This is what respect looks like. I am a proud cousin right now. No one asked Kenneth to do this. He just got out and ignored the rain to focus on thanking a soldier for protecting this country. We need to see more actions like this on a daily basis. ♡”
And from Florida, Taylor Campa posted, “Love, love LOVE this. You have such a wonderful and caring soul, Kenneth. Don’t you ever change!”
Even the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs piled on, honoring Varnes’ patriotism and sense of duty. “With a long line of patrol cars and vehicles with American flags hanging from their side windows, Kenneth Varnes, a Fort Hood soldier, knew it must be for a fallen Veteran. It was pouring rain and the sky roared with thunder, but Varnes felt compelled to do something.”
Varnes is married and has a newborn daughter.