Wounded soldier's salute touches thousands


U.S. Army Ranger Cpl. Josh Hargis was seriously injured Oct. 6 in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan. He was hooked up to a breathing tube, with his right hand heavily bandaged, when he was awarded a Purple Heart for his valor in the battlefield.

The 24-year-old didn't let his wounds stop him from following military protocol, lifting his bandaged hand to salute the ranger regimental commander who pinned the award to his red, white and blue blanket.

Hargis' wife Taylor posted the photo of her husband saluting from his hospital bed along with the letter she received from his commanding officer on her Facebook page Oct. 12. Since then, it has been shared more than 6,000 times.

The suicide bombing killed four members of Hargis' 3rd Army Ranger Battalion and wounded 12 other U.S. soldiers, according to the Guardian of Valor website, which also shared Taylor's photo.

There were roughly 50 officers and medical staff members in the room with Hargis when he was awarded the Purple Heart. They all thought he was unconscious. The doctor even tried to restrain Hargis' arm when he lifted it to salute, thinking he was having a seizure.

The commanding officer said the salute brought everyone in the room to tears.

Laura Heigman, Hargis' mother, told Cincinnati's ABC News affiliate WCPO-TV that Hargis' wife is pregnant with the couple's first child. She also told the station that it was her son's fourth tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Hargis was transferred from Afghanistan to a U.S. military hospital in Germany. He was flown Tuesday from Germany to San Antonio, Texas, where he will continue his recovery at the Army hospital at Fort Sam Houston, Heitman said.

ABC News contributed to this report.

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