A Tri-State soldier injured in Afghanistan last week has received a Purple Heart for his sacrifice. But, it's a picture of the medal ceremony for Army Ranger Josh Hargis that's spreading across the world, quickly becoming known as the "salute seen around the world."
"He's a lovely, lovely child. A lovely person filled with honor, valor and courage," said Hargis' father, Jim Hargis.
Hargis, 24, is a Dater High School graduate. On his second tour of duty, Hargis lost both of his legs in an explosion while his unit, the 3rd Ranger Battalion, was searching a building for a target. Four of his fellow soldiers died in the attack.
"A man came out, lifted up his shirt to show that he had no IEDs, and then a woman came out and she exploded," said Hargis.
Things only got worse after that.
"Everybody, from what I understood, started moving and shuffling, and then it sounds like IEDs were planted around the ground, and Josh had stepped on one, and several other of the people in his unit also," Hargis told FOX19.
FOX19 showed Jim Hargis the photo of his son in his hospital bed as he's saluting. Holding back tears, Hargis says he's proud of his son who's always dreamed of being a ranger.
FOX19 asked, "When you see the picture, how proud are you, as a family?"
"I'm overwhelmed. I'm overwhelmed that that's my boy, that he could come from me. Yeah, I'm overwhelmed," Hargis replied.
On his chest in the photo sits the Purple Heart. Perceived to be unconscious, Hargis was presented his medal surrounded by about 50 people in a hospital room in Afghanistan when he started to raise him arm in salute.
"I don't even think it was conscious. I think it was unconscious. I think he was totally out. That's the way he is. He felt it," said Hargis' father.
Hargis was deployed just last month and was due to come back in January.
"I'm very well-pleased with him. He's an awesome kid. He's an awesome man," Hargis told FOX19.
Hargis is on his way back the United States, and will be at a military hospital in San Antonio, TX. Josh and his wife, Taylor, are expecting their first child.
A few days ago, Hargis posted this on his Facebook page, "A huge thank you to everyone who was a part of this and is now a part of it. Only through your love and support may we overcome this difficult road ahead."
To learn more about the incident, visit: http://guardianofvalor.com/salute-seen-around-world-wounded-ranger-salutes-commander-despite-injuries/
To read the full story and see a photo of the salute, click here.
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