Traditionally from a young age, Americans are taught to respect their military for the immense sacrifices they make to protect their country. Yet few children show such appreciation unprompted as one 6-year-old boy whose salute to our heroes went viral this week.
While waiting at the San Antonio International Airport in Texas for his father, 6-year-old Jace Vega was astonished to see a group of Navy service members arriving. Jace quickly stood at attention and saluted the men, while his mother discreetly photographed his respectful act.
After Priscilla Pinales-Vega proudly posted the photo to social media, Jace’s gesture quickly became a viral sensation, garnering thousands of reactions and shares on Facebook.
PROUD PARENT MOMENT! 🥰🥰Priscilla Pinales-Vega & Joe Vega sent us this photo of their son at the airport. According to…
Many commenters were astonished by Jace’s sense of respect at such a young age. Others praised his patriotic gesture as hope for the coming generation’s appreciation towards veterans. Yet, none were prouder than his mother and father, Priscilla and Joe Vega, who take immense pride in raising their children to look up to the armed forces and first responders.
The proud mother and father had brought their children to military museums while they were growing up and constantly taught them how to show respect. After the tragic 2016 ambush on Dallas police that left five officers dead and nine wounded, the Vegas took their children to bring local policemen pizza as a sign of gratitude for their sacrifice.
Another telling example of these values was when Jace was asked to list who his heroes in his life were. He named his father first, and superheroes second; Joe was quick to point out to him and his brother who the true heroes in life were:
“I said that real superheroes put their lives on the line for total strangers,” Joe told Yahoo Lifestyle. “They’re willing to live thousands of miles away in the desert or on the sea without seeing their loved ones for a long time.”
When asked about why he had saluted the Navy service members in the airport that day, Jace responded, “Because they fight for our country.”
The photo has since garnered major media attention and has led to further opportunities for Jace.
“A couple of companies have reached out to us and some other people just reached out to my wife,” explained Joe. “They want to use his picture in the airport somewhere in Florida. A couple of locally owned veteran companies who do shirts, that’s locally owned and operated, they’re going to do a couple of shirts with him.”
Jace also hopes to become a soldier one day when he gets older, aspiring to be an Army captain.
Never mind that Jace is shown saluting with his left hand—the traditional Navy salute uses the right hand; that just goes to show how early on his good sense of loyalty was instilled, which he expressed “the only way he knew how,” according to his dad.