VIDEO: Tribute to WWII veteran in Gardena goes viral staff KABC logo
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
VIDEO: Tribute to WWII veteran in Gardena goes viral
The Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center gave a touching tribute in Gardena to World War II veteran Ernest Thompson.

GARDENA, Calif. -- A touching tribute to a World War II veteran in Gardena is going viral on social media.

Ernest Thompson, now in his late 90s, served aboard the USS Tennessee prior to WWII and on the USS Missouri during WWII, according to his grandson Jonathan Williams.

Williams recalled a trip he and his grandfather took to visit the USS Missouri back in 2000.

"When he lost my grandmother, the one thing he wanted to do was visit his ship (the USS Missouri) again. We visited his ship together in 2000 and I was able to experience what these museum ships meant to veterans," Williams wrote on Facebook.

Williams, the CEO of the Battleship Iowa Museum in Los Angeles, said his grandfather was moved to join the Iowa museum crew.

Thompson, along with other WWII veterans, would go to the ship on Sundays to meet the public and tell stories.

Recently though, Williams said his grandfather hasn't been able to make the trip because of health reasons.

That's when the Chief Selects of the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center decided to bring life on the seas to Thompson.

The group arranged a surprise visit to Thompson's Gardena home and sang "Anchors Aweigh" right in the neighborhood street.

Thompson was seen in the video standing at salute while the group sang. After their performance, the group lined up and one-by-one shook Thompson's hand and spoke with him.

Williams said his grandfather told him it was one of the best days of his life.

The video, posted to Williams' Facebook page on Aug. 13, has been shared nearly 100,000 times.