9-Year-Old Boy Waits 30 Minutes In Pouring Rain To Salute WWII Veterans Funeral Procession

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Jeremiah Joseph “Jerry” O’Keefe III was an American World War II veteran and decorated fighter pilot ace. He was philanthropic, respectedby his community, and beloved by his wife and 13 children.

On August 23, 2016, Jerry O’Keefe passed away at the age of 93. While his funeral was emotional, heartfelt and attended by veterans, loved ones and admirers alike, it was a simple act during the procession by a complete stranger that went viral.

As the funeral procession winded its way through the streets of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, the O’Keefe family looked out the window and noticed a little boy standing barefoot on the roadside, hand over his heart, in the pouring rain.

The boy, who did not know Jerry O’Keefe but knew of his legacy, stood in the same position for 30 minutes until the procession passed.

The family was so touched that they snapped a picture and shared it on Facebook, asking if anyone could identify the boy.

His plea went viral, and wait until you see what happened next…

[H/T: The Olympian]

Jeremiah Joseph “Jerry” O’Keefe III was an American World War II veteran and decorated fighter pilot ace.

He was also a caring philanthropist, and served as a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives.

From 1973 to 1981, he was the mayor of Biloxi, Mississippi.

O’Keefe and his wife, Annette, had 13 children. According to Wikipedia, the O’Keefe family has a fondness for Southern cooking and story-telling which inspired their publication of a family cookbook in 1994.

Annette died in 1998. O’Keefe eventually remarried a woman named Martha.

Jeremiah Joseph O’Keefe passed away on August 23, 2016 at the age of 93.

The O’Keefe family and community of Biloxi pulled out all the stops for the patriarch’s funeral. There were veterans in uniform, bagpipes by his grave and many heartfelt eulogies.

Following the funeral, the family began the procession.

As the procession horse-drawn hearse and all made its way into Ocean Springs, Mississippi, the O’Keefe family spotteda little boy on the side of the road. He was barefoot in the rain, holding his hand over his heart.

This unnamed boy who had never met Jerry O’Keefe but knew who he was and how important he was to the community stood in the same position for 30 minutes until the entire funeral procession passed. A member of the procession snappedthe photo above.

The O’Keefe family was so touched by this boy’s gesture that they shared the photo on Facebook, asking if anyone could identify him.

The post went viral.

The little boy was identified as 9-year-oldKaiden Wade.

That day, Kaiden and his dad were visiting hissick grandmother. She mentioned the funeral procession would be passing by her house, but not for a while. Without hesitation, Kaiden headed to the corner of the street and waited, despite the rain, despitehis bare feet.

Cecilia, one of Jerry OKeefes daughters, says the image of Kaiden standing in the rain will always be etched into her memory.

She saw her father in Kaiden. “This young fellow was the symbolism for the youth and vitality that was so present in my Dad,” she said.

Kaiden’s mother,Amy, isnot surprised by her son’s gesture.

His loved ones say he has always been an exceptionally kindhearted child who shows respect during the most significant and trying moments.

The O’Keefe family reached out to Kaiden and invited himto the Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home. They wanted to thank him in person for his incredible act of kindness.

Kaiden got to see the horse-drawn hearse that carried Jerry O’Keefe and was gifted with keepsakes of the late, great WWII veteran.

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