Her Son Died in Afghanistan in 2012. Years Later, She Finally Meets the Little Boy Who Keeps Appearing At His Grave.
Most people put a burger or hot dog on the grill on Memorial Day, slug back a beer, and enjoy their day off. But we can’t forget that it’s a day to honor fallen and active soldiers who risked their lives for our country.
It was in May of 2016 when 7-year-old Mason came to the Wilmington National Cemetery for the first time. It was Memorial Day weekend, and his mother, Sarah, was placing flags on fallen solders’ graves to honor their service and lives. It’s her and her family’s favorite way to pay tribute to these special men and women who did their due diligence.
Mason decided to go wander the graveyard, and, for whatever reason, was struck by the grave of a Sergeant TJ Butler. When his mother found him in awe of this grave, she asked him what was up.
“He had a lot of questions. He wanted to know if he had a son and a family, and wanted to know more about him,” his mother said. “It was really touching because you could tell he was really soaking it all in. That this was somebody’s son, somebody’s daddy.”
Mason found out that TJ was killed in a suicide bombing on Oct. 1, 2012, in Afghanistan. He knew he was a hero, so he decided to draw him a picture. He even put it in a Ziploc bag so the rain didn’t mess it up. How thoughtful!
The picture contained an American flag and a shield, just like the one that Captain America, his favorite superhero, uses.
Little did Mason know that TJ’s mother, Leslie Butler, had seen Mason drawing while visiting his grave. She thought it was so special that she wanted to find the little boy so she could meet him and thank him.
Leslie wound up tracking down the family and inviting them back to meet at TJ’s grave on the Fourth of July. She got to spend some time with little Mason, sharing photos and stories of TJ, with Mason wide-eyed and interested.
“It must have made a huge impact on him to be that young and remember something like that,” Mason’s mother said. “For Mason’s age, I thought it was very special that he came down to visit TJ.”
Mason placed a Captain America figurine near TJ’s grave. “Because he was a hero,” he said.
Leslie couldn’t just let this sweet little boy walk away empty handed. She wanted to thank him for being so nice to her little boy, and gifted Mason with his very own Captain America.
Mason promised to give TJ his flag every year on Memorial Day to honor this special fallen solider.
To hear more about this sweet story and hear why Mason was so struck by TJ’s grave, check out the video below.
How sweet is Mason to visit TJ year after year? Do you have any traditions you like to do to honor fallen soldiers on Memorial Day and July 4th? Tell us your favorite!