A young boy and his family were visiting Wilmington National Cemetery, placing American flags on the graves of fallen soldiers on Memorial day. 7-year-old Mason Lee seemed to have a connection to one soldier’s grave, in particular, belonging to Sergeant TJ Butler, and he wanted to know more about the man. Mason’s mom, Sarah, told WECT News that he “had a lot of questions.”
She added: “He wanted to know if he had a son and a family, and wanted to know more about him,” explaining, “It was really touching because you could tell he was really soaking it all in. That this was somebody’s son, somebody’s daddy.”
When they returned again the next year to put out flags, Mason wanted to visit Sgt. Butler’s grave, as he had drawn a picture with an American flag and a shield and even put it in a plastic bag to leave at the gravesite. Mason explained the picture he drew was because Butler “was a hero.”
His mother shared, “It must have made a huge impact on him to be that young and remember something like that.”
Sergeant Butler’s mother, Leslie, who visits the grave regularly, found Mason’s sweet gesture on the tombstone and was moved by the little boy’s kindness. She wanted to meet the boy who had paid tribute to her son, who was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan in 2012.
Leslie met with Mason and had something to give him in return — a Captain America toy! She said of her son, “TJ’s teachers all his life called him a social butterfly. So I’m thinking he still is a social butterfly.” Leslie added, “For Mason’s age, I thought it was very special that he came down and visited TJ.”
The little boy plans to leave a flag on Butler’s grave on his next visit and Leslie was thrilled to learn this, explaining, “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 told WECT, “TJ was proud to be in the Army,” adding, “He was still young” when he passed away.
Mason isn’t the only young child interested in honoring the brave service people who protect our country, as another mother took to Facebook to share a story about her children. She wrote: “So my boys asked me what was Memorial Day all about! I showed them pictures of Arlington Cemetery and explain to them these were the soldiers that fought for our country and never made it back home.”
She added: “They asked why do some tombstones have flowers and some don’t, and I said maybe their family couldn’t make it or they had no family or they don’t have anybody to come see them so we take this day to honor all those that serve and all those that gave their life for us. So my youngest one said that he wanted to go and put a penny on some of those that didn’t have flowers. My boys make me proud. Happy Memorial Day Everyone.”
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