A veteran battling dementia made his family beam with pride when he heard the national anthem of the United States on television and immediately stood up to salute.
In the patriotic video, Joseph Black, 72, is seen standing to attention while saluting The Star-Spangled Banner, which was playing during an NFL game his family was watching.
Joseph’s son, Steve Edwards, 49, who lives in St Joseph, Missouri, and grandson Cameron had not expected the gesture from the 72-year-old.
Steve pulled out his cell phone and recorded his dad, who stood throughout the entire performance.
Joseph, who goes by ‘Gunny,’ was a gunnery sergeant with the United States Marine Corp. for more than 25 years.
He was deployed for two tours of Vietnam and “everything after that up until the Gulf War,” Steve said, before retiring in 1998.
Joseph coped well during his earlier years of retirement, Steve said, but in 2018 Joseph started getting sundowners and was diagnosed with dementia.
Steve, who moved from California to Missouri to care for his dad, added watching his condition decline daily has been incredibly tough on the family, but seeing him remember to salute filled them with pride.
He said: “I was sitting in the living room with my dad and the NFL game was about to start and he heard the national anthem and got right up and saluted the TV.
“My son walked in, and you can hear me in the video telling him he just heard it and popped up – it was an amazing feeling.
“I felt bad because I didn’t stand up, but I didn’t want to mess up his thoughts and moments.
“It was a very emotional time for us all, and I was like, man, my dad will always remember his roots and what he did, no matter what he is going through.
“Dementia is a very hard disease for any individual and a family. They need you to always stay patient with them and not be afraid to ask for help; many days will be hard.
“Family is everything – make sure you are there for your family when you need to be, and cherish every moment you can with a family member because they may not see you or know who you are tomorrow.”