Some young children are very curious about the world and may have a ton of questions for their parents. A young boy in North Carolina was visiting a cemetery with his mother when he suddenly ran off on his own. His mom, trailing behind, soon found he had gone to sit by a fallen soldier’s grave.
During the Memorial Day Weekend in May 2016, Sarah Lee took her 7-year-old son, Mason, to the Wilmington National Cemetery to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers buried there. Once they reached the cemetery, Mason took off on his own.
“He disappeared on me and I panicked,” Lee told WECT. “I didn’t know where to find him.”
Fortunately, she soon found Mason sitting next to a headstone.
The headstone belonged to Sergeant TJ Butler.
Lee walked over to ask her son what he was doing.
“Mason had a lot of questions. He wanted to know if he had a son and a family, and wanted to know more about him,” Lee recalled.
Sergeant Butler was killed by a suicide bomber in 2012 while he was deployed to Afghanistan. He left behind his mother, wife, and a young son.
“It was really touching because you could tell he was really soaking it all in. That this was somebody’s son, somebody’s daddy,” Lee said.
The next year, in 2017, Mason and his family returned to the cemetery again to put out flags for the soldiers. This time, Mason took along a special present for Sergeant Butler.
“He decided to draw a picture for him and put it in a little ziplock bag and make sure the rain didn’t mess it up,” Lee said.
Mason even wrote his name on the gift, which was a picture with an American flag and shield, similar to the one Captain America has.
“It must have made a huge impact on him to be that young and remember something like that,” Lee said.
When Sergeant Butler’s mom, Leslie, saw what Mason had given her family, she was touched.
“The letter that Mason left us touched our hearts to know that someone still cared,” Leslie said.
When Leslie saw the drawing, she contacted them and asked to meet at the cemetery the following Tuesday.
Once Mason and his family arrived, Leslie gave him a gift in return—a Captain America toy.
“TJ’s teachers all his life called him a social butterfly. So I’m thinking he still is a social butterfly,” Leslie said. “For Mason’s age, I thought it was very special that he came down and visited TJ.”
“As long as Mason is here, he’ll place his flag here I can be happy that I know that Mason’s going to give TJ his flag,” Leslie added.
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