Marine Corps Master Sergeant gave his son an emotional first salute as a commissioned officer

There are moments as a parent that stand out, and there are moments as a human that stand out, and when those two realities converge, it makes for pure magic.

One such magical moment was captured and shared on TikTok and has been viewed by millions in just one day.

Master Sergeant Michael Fisher is an instructor with the Marine Corps Junior ROTC program. He has spent the past nine months sharing sweet videos on Tik Tok of himself and his adorable 1-year-old granddaughter, Abby, but yesterday he shared something completely different. In his official role as Master Sergeant, Fisher gave his son his first salute as a Second Lieutenant.

And as he explained the pride he felt, the emotion in his voice took us straight to his heart.


"I've watched you grow and mature and become the man that you are today," he said. "You have always been respectful, by saying 'Yes sir.' 'No sir.' 'Yes, ma'am.' And 'No, ma'am.' A salute is a sign of respect. It is a privilege to render you your first salute."

He raised his hand in salute, then added, his voice cracking, "But it is a greater honor to say 'Congratulations, sir, on your commissioning.'"

The moment was clearly significant for this father and son for personal reasons, but it was also significant that it took place between a Black officer and non-commissioned officer.

Though racial diversity is fairly representative of the general population in lower officer ranks of the military, the upper ranks are lacking in such diversity. In fact, the higher in pay grade you go, the more white the demographics become.

As this chart from the Defense Department shows, at the top of the pay grade for active enlistment officers, 92% are white and 5% are Black.

defense.gov


For the reserves, the trend is similar, with white officers making up a disproportionate percentage of the top pay grades.

defense.gov

As Master Sergeant, Michael Fisher is an upper-ranked non-commissioned officer. His son's rank of Second Lieutenant is the first commissioned officer ranking. (This site has a breakdown of how the rankings work, and what the letters below the bars on the chart mean.)

The Defense Department's own report acknowledges that racial minorities are underrepresented in both senior non-commissioned officer ranks and as well as higher commissioned officer ranks. The report also explains why that's a problem:

"Appropriate representation of minorities in military leadership positions is increasingly important in the context of the nation's demographic trends. The non-Hispanic White population is expected to decline from 199 million in 2020 to 179 million in 2060, while the rest of the U.S. population continues to grow. The population of people who are two or more races is projected to be the single fastest-growing racial or ethnic group, followed by Asian and Hispanic Americans. Thus, if military leaders are to mirror the racial and ethnic composition of the Service members they lead and the American public they serve, DoD must ensure that all Service members have access to opportunities to succeed and advance into leadership positions."

Here's hoping this new Second Lieutenant will have every opportunity to rise in the officer ranks, if he so chooses.

Meanwhile, we'll watch this video a few more times and just for the feels. There's something about someone in uniform in a formal situation trying to hold it together that just tugs at the heartstrings every time. And seeing this career military man honoring his son with his first salute as an officer—and hearing his voice break as he does so—it's just so touching.

Thank you, Master Sergeant Fisher and Second Lieutenant son, for your dutiful service.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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