For many American families, serving in the military is something that gets passed down from generation to generation. In some instances, the younger generation surpasses the older one in rank, resulting in touching and incredibly impactful moments. Many are caught on video, including this 2013 interaction between Staff Sgt. James Williams and his granddaughter, 2nd Lt. Charlotte Williams, which recently went viral.
The original video was uploaded to YouTube by Dave Williams, the son of Staff Sgt. Williams. At the time of publishing, the clip has amassed over 10 million views, and while already popular has experienced a new virality after user @the_blazing_redcoat shared it to TikTok, leading to its posting on Reddit’s MadeMeSmile subreddit.
In the clip, Staff Sgt. Williams, a veteran of the US Marine Corps, salutes his granddaughter during a ceremony at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia on August 9, 2013. While the salute is impactful in itself, given the respect it denotes, the real touching moment comes after, in the form of a request only a grandfather could ask.
“Staff Sgt. Williams requests permission, ma’am, to hug his granddaughter, 2nd Lt. Charlotte Williams,” the proud grandfather asks. 2nd Lt. Williams grants him permission and the pair embrace while the crowd erupts into applause. It’s an incredibly moving moment and one that’s relatable to many within the veteran community.
On Reddit, many users shared personal stories regarding their own military service and interactions with family members.
User dtb1987 shared a poignant moment he had with his brother, writing, “My brother going to Iraq was one of the only times we hugged. We have a turbulent relationship but nothing makes you put it all aside like the possibility that your family member isn’t coming back.”
“As a sergeant, I joked I would make my grandpa do push ups because he finished WW2 as a private first class,” wrote user Lou_Polish. “Before I left for Iraq he shook my hand and said, ‘I hope you make it back.’”
The reaction was similar on TikTok, with one user commenting, “I cannot imagine the pride this man feels,” and another writing, “The way you can just feel the pride emanating off of him.”
We’re not crying, you’re crying… Anyone mind grabbing us a tissue?