A simple gesture of respect became a nationwide viral phenomenon.

That’s what happened on the side of the road in a small town in Kentucky.

A Tennessee National Guard soldier, Col. Jack Usrey, got out of his vehicle and stood at attention and saluting in the pouring rain in Vine Grove, KY.

A passerby was so impressed she stopped and took a picture.

Ask Usrey why he did it, and he will tell you it was just the right thing to do.

“I was driving down the road. The weather was awful and I thought what terrible weather for the family to have to go through this, so I stopped and got out,” said Usrey. “I thought maybe, just maybe, it would lift their spirit just a little and show them that we care.”

Usrey said a couple of people in the procession acknowledged him.

He also said he was surprised that people made such a big deal out of his gesture.

“Oh yes, but it was the way I was raised,” said Usrey. “I didn’t think anything of it. I just wanted to do it and go on.”

Usrey comes from a long family tree of military men.

His great uncle was shot down during World War II and was a prisoner of war. His dad served in the Navy and his brother is a retired lieutenant colonel. He has a son currently in the Navy and another son is attending The Citadel.