Singers Surprise World War II Vet With Emotional Tune: 'He Had Tears in His Eyes'
98-year-old Ernie Thompson listened from his porch as 24 chief selects from the nearby Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center sang the popular march song 'Anchors Aweigh' in Gardena, California.
"He was extremely happy," Ernie’s grandson and CEO of the Battleship Iowa Museum, Jonathan Williams, told InsideEdition.com. “He had tears in his eyes.”
The surprise was directed by Battleship Iowa volunteer coordinator, Sue Schmidt, who filmed the event.
As a young man, Ernie served on the USS Tennessee during the beginning of WWII and serving on the USS Missouri during the war.
He witnessed the historic Pearl Harbor battle and ultimately the end of the war.
When the song ended, one by one, the chief selects shook the courageous vet’s hand and thanked him for his service to the country.
"He's always honored to be around members of the military," Williams said. "I adore this man. He's one of my best friends."
According to his grandson, Ernie was an avid visitor of the museum and enjoyed sharing stories of his days as a sailor to the visitors.
Unfortunately, due to an accident that made him unable to walk, Ernie stopped visiting six months ago.
The video has quickly gone viral with social media users thanking Ernie for his courage and dedication.
"He's one of the many veterans in the country that risked their lives to protect our freedom," Williams said. "We have a duty to thank and take care of them."