Runners leave fundraising race to shake hands with 95 y.o. WWII vet (video)

A really neat story out of San Jose, California.

Joe Bell is a 95 year old World War II vet, who decided to watch the local marathon fundraiser for the foundation devoted to the memory of Pat Tillman, the Army ranger who died from friendly fire in Afghanistan, and whose death became a rather large cover-up during the Bush administration.

As it was for Tillman, Bell, who served with the Office of Strategic Services (the precursor to the CIA) in Africa and Italy, put on his old World War II uniform and came out to watch the race.

All of a sudden, as Bell was watching, one runner left the course to shake his hand.  Then another.  And another.


And it kept going.


It’s a neat story and video.  Here’s the full video.

(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • SL Abrin

    My father’s military service was completely out of character for him. He never spoke of the war other than to say he had respect for the tenacious Japanese soldiers they encountered and, at the same time, felt sorry for their miserable plight at the end of the war.

  • 2karmanot


  • 2karmanot

    Same, My dad was a paratrooper captured in Normandy and marched down to Bavaria. They were incredible men and true heroes.

  • Must be nice to have some memory of stories. My grandfather was a tailgunner, in the Army Air Corp. too, and he completely refused to talk about anything he saw or did during the war. The most I ever got out of him was “We killed lots of krauts.” He passed many years ago now, but it wasn’t until just recently that I learned he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

  • AlexanderHamiltonsGhost

    Everyone but Pat Buchanan, at least.

  • pappyvet

    Great stuff John. Thanks. Dad was Army Air Corp. Lots of memories of Dad and his buddies. I remember listening to them when I was a boy talking about situations I just could not at the time wrap my brain around.

  • NMRon

    Damn them! Ruins my stolid American Gothic self-image . . . every damn time.

  • The documentary about her won an Oscar!

  • Indigo

    I saw that on TV last night, it’s really neat.

  • sonoitabear

    Damn you, Stealth Ninja Onion-choppers!!

  • Thom Allen

    That video, and the linked article are just great. Such a wonderful, spontaneous happening. He’s another national treasure. Reminds me of the stories on Alice Herz-Sommer, the 110 year old pianist and concentration camp survivor. Both such great people.

  • And sorry I didn’t mention you, but I try NOT to mention the names of people who send me stuff, unless they ask me to. I’ve found over the years that people prefer not to have their names out there. So thank YOU for sending it in, it’s a lovely story. And it’s nice to be able to write about wars that we all agree on (I think :)

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I teared up, but I was smiling.

  • emjayay

    John, you have to stop doing this to me.

  • Just_AC

    Thanks for posting my tip, John. Like I told you, it made me tear up thinking of my Dad and all the other WWII soldiers of “The Greatest Generation”

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