World War II veteran's touching video goes viral

The video of World War II veteran Joe Bell, who dressed up to cheer on runners in San Jose's 408K race, goes viral.
March 4, 2014 9:28:58 PM PST
A video has gone viral of a veteran shaking hands runners from San Jose's 408K race. He is 95 years old and he came out to greet runners this past Sunday.

A neighbor used her cellphone to capture something special. It was during a run that benefits the Pat Tillman Foundation. Tillman was a San Jose Army Ranger who died in Afghanistan after he joined the military after 9/11.

Joe Bell decided to cheer on the runners as they passed his house Sunday morning, but a few seconds later, runners crowd around Bell, who was dressed in his World War II uniform.

The 95 year old was shocked as the runners thanked him.

"I saluted them, sometimes they kiss me," said Bell.

The kisses and attention just kept on coming. Off duty San Jose Mercury News reporter Julia Prodis Sulek caught it all on her iPhone.

"It was just this amazing tribute," said Prodis Sulek. "He told me today that he's never really received recognition for anything."

"This is where we were in Shanghai," said Bell as he pointed to an old photograph.

He was a corporal in the Army and eventually settled in San Jose. Every now and then, he likes putting on his uniform. On Sunday, he thought it would inspire the runners. He was right.

"He inspired all of us because he was standing there, standing on his own with no walker, no cane, in his uniform, proudly," said Chris Kirkpatrick, a runner.

Two longtime friends and runners had no idea what they were a part of on Sunday would become something so big.

"I didn't know until tonight when I saw it on Diane Sawyer," said Kirkpatrick.

"That was amazing. It was really fun. It just makes you feel good," said Barb Service, a runner.

Bell still isn't fully aware of what he started Sunday, but you can bet, the next run that goes by his house he'll be there in uniform, cheering on the crowd.


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