Acts of Kindness
98-year-old veteran tears up to find squad of sailors outside his home for him
The WW2 vet couldn't hold back his tears when he saw them.
Rebecca Reid
07.29.21

Ernie Thompson, a proud WW2 Navy Veteran, got the honor of his life shortly before his passing.

In 2016, Ernie was just shy of his 99th birthday when he received a very special tribute. Twenty-four chief selects from the nearby Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center marched up to Ernie’s home where he had lived for 60 years.

YouTube screenshot - Inside Edition
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Inside Edition

What happened next brought the Navy vet to tears.

The chief selects surprised him by singing the Navy’s popular march song, ‘Anchors Aweigh.’ The song is an homage to soldiers returning home from battle. The lyrics speak for themselves.

‘Anchors aweigh, my boys, anchors aweigh
Farewell to foreign shores, we sail at break of day, of day
Through our last night ashore, drink to the foam
Until we meet again, here’s wishing you a happy voyage home’

YouTube screenshot - Inside Edition
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Inside Edition

According to his obituary, Ernie was at the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, where he saw his fireroom fill with smoke when a kamikaze struck the ship.

He witnessed the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender aboard the Mighty MO in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.

YouTube screenshot - Inside Edition
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Inside Edition

Ernie was so moved by the thoughtful tribute, his son recalled his father getting emotional.

“He was extremely happy…he had tears in his eyes. – Ernie’s grandson and CEO of the Battleship Iowa Museum, Jonathan Williams, told InsideEdition.com.” The tribute was organized by Battleship Iowa volunteer coordinator, Sue Schmidt. She also filmed the moving performance, which went viral and gave the world a glimpse into the life of this American hero.

YouTube screenshot - Inside Edition
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Inside Edition

Ernie, who was seated on his front porch when the sailors came, didn’t waste any time standing to salute them on a job well done.

YouTube screenshot - Inside Edition
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Inside Edition

Ernie started his military career by serving on the USS Tennessee during the beginning of WWII and on the USS Missouri during the war.

He was able to live through the Pearl Harbor battle and saw the end of the war.

YouTube screenshot - Inside Edition
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Inside Edition

Each chief select went up to Ernie to shake his hand and thank him for his service.

His grandson said this was a proud moment for his father and at the time he remarked on how much his father meant to him.

Share this article
By Rebecca Reid
hi@sbly.com
Rebecca Reid is a contributor at SBLY Media.
Advertisement
Advertisement