Joe Bell is an 95-year-old World War II veteran who lives in San Jose, California. Last Sunday, the course for the San Jose 408k Race to the Row went right in front of his house in the Rose Garden area of town. To inspire the participants, Bell donned his dress uniform and stood in front of his home applauding as the runners went by.
Then a funny thing happened; runners began stopping to shake his hand and thank him for his service.
It was a poignant scene captured by Bell's next door neighbor, Julia Prodis Sulek, who is also a staffer at the San Jose Mercury News. The incident was also very apt as the race benefits the foundation of San Jose native Pat Tillman, the former NFL star who joined the Army and was killed in action in Afghanistan ten years ago.
UPDATE: A set of videos of Bell talking about why he wore his uniform for the race and his service in World War II can be found here.