A heartfelt July Fourth Facebook post about one little girl’s slain military father and “the freedom that we often take for granted” has moved thousands of readers to tears since it was originally shared by a South Carolina woman on Independence Day.
“I find myself sitting in the parking lot at Kroger trying to compose myself,” began the post by Katie Shuler of Myrtle Beach. “You see, while inside getting groceries, I came upon a little girl prancing down the isle making a crazy noise. I turned around to see this young lady wearing massive boots compared to her tiny body. At first I just giggled and continued shopping. I ended up in the check out lane behind her and her mother.”
She continued: “As good southerners do, we struck up conversation. I told the little girl that I liked her boots. She had a massive grin on her face and began to speak. She let me know that those boots belonged to her Daddy. Today would have been his birthday, but he was killed last year in ‘Afghan Stan.’ To feel better about today, she was allowed to wear his boots.”
The girl’s mom started to cry, Shuler went on, and “so did I, as did the cashier. Apparently, the gentleman behind me heard the story and gave the little girl a cupcake out of the dozen he was buying. He told the little girl to always eat a cupcake for her dad’s birthday. He told her that her dad was a hero and that she should be proud to be his daughter.
“Please remember why we are able to celebrate America. Let’s stop to think about those who protect the freedom that we often take for granted!”
Shuler tells Yahoo Style that she thinks the girl in the boots was about 7 or 8 years old. “I am happy that so many people were touched by my small interaction with the little girl and her mother,” she adds. “I hope that people not only remember this post on July 4th, but throughout the year. I am a big fan of paying it forward and try to do so as often as I can. I often try to pay it forward to military and their families, as well as public service workers. They all have a heart for service and are under appreciated and underpaid. I hope that one day this little girl sees the story and reads all the amazing comments to her!”
If the girl hasn’t seen the post yet, it’s clear that many others have, as it has so far been shared more than 90,000 times, with many commenters noting that they were “sobbing” and “crying” as they read it. A couple of days later, Shuler’s post made its way to the page Love What Matters, where it has picked up more than 19,700 shares and over 1,000 comments, including this one, from a mother who can relate:
“My husband is deployed for the third time right now, and this is my biggest fear with each deployment since we have two daughters and will have a son in about 4 months. Her daddy was and still is a hero. Military children are so strong in so many ways.”
Suggested another, “I hope she wears those boots when she walks down the aisle at her wedding.”
Yet another reader added: “As soon as I started to read this post, I knew what it was going to be about; it made me cry so hard. As a teacher on a military base, I’ve had students come to our classroom dressed in dad’s clothes & boots. GOD Bless you for being so wonderfully kind to this precious little girl and showing her compassion. RIP HERO.”
Read more from Yahoo Style + Beauty:
- This Mother-Daughter Stripper Pole Dance Is Sparking Controversy
- Why Are So Many Women Giving Birth to Big Babies?
- The Funniest Tweets From Parents This Week