A former Air Force flight nurse who now works at a Florida hospital recently paid his respects to a fellow veteran who died of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
That somber act of solidarity was captured in a photo that has since gone viral.
The photo, which was posted to the Facebook page for the Manatee Memorial Hospital in Bradenton, Florida on April 20, shows Marc Kagen, a registered nurse there, as he salutes the covered body of a patient.
“I work presently as a Cath Lab nurse and recently doing scanning of hospital personnel going in and out of the COVID 19 Unit,” Kagen wrote in the Facebook post. “My heart was broken and saddened when a veteran lost his life to this deadly virus.”
“He didn’t get the military send off with a flag over his brave body,” he added. “It was with my duty and honor to salute this brave American.”
The photo of Kagen has been widely shared, and comments of support have flooded in:
“He has a great personality and always leaves us smiling. I had no idea about his background. This is so honorable and genuine,” wrote one commenter who appears to have been a patient at the hospital.
While another wrote: “Thank you, Marc for your service now and before. Thank you so much for giving dignity to this patient/veteran.”