His commander described it as the single greatest event he has ever witnessed in his ten years in the Army.
A seriously wounded soldier believed to be unconscious who fought hospital tubes, bandages and a doctor trying to hold him down, to salute his senior during a bedside ceremony, has been hailed as an inspiration to the nation.
Josh Hargis, of the 3rd Ranger Battalion, underwent extensive surgery in a military hospital in Afghanistan after a suicide bomber detonated, killing four of his comrades according to reports. He was on his fourth tour of Afghanistan.
At his hospital bed, and in intensive care, Army Ranger Hargis lay motionless as a simple military ceremony was conducted to honour him with a Purple Heart, an award for his sacrifice to his country.
But to everyone’s complete surprise Hargis, who was thought to be still unconscious post surgery, raised his right hand to salute his commander.
Wearing a neck brace, breathing aparatus, and with tubes coming out of him, he even struggled with a doctor who tried to stop him from moving, to complete the mark of respect for his higher ranking officer.
The brave and magnanimous gesture brought tears to the eyes of grown men and soldiers in the room; there were about 50 people crammed into his hospital care unit.