Sometimes it takes a long time for our cries for help to be answered. Other times, it happens right away.
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When Virginia Waller-Torres’ car stalled in the middle of a flash flood outside Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, she sent up a prayer for support. Less than a minute later, six U.S. Marines climbed off a bus and trudged through the water toward her car!
“It was like they were sent from somewhere else, from a higher power,” Virginia said. “I thought I could die, a truck could hit us. And it was as though somebody heard me.”
Not only were they Marines, but they were especially strong ones! These soldiers were part of the Marine Corps Body Bearers, the elite unit whose job it is to lift heavy caskets for funerals on Arlington’s grounds. They were such a welcome and impressive sight in their crisp dress uniforms that Virginia took out her phone and started to record the rescue.
“This is the most American thing ever!” she said as the men made short work of pushing her car to higher ground.
Cpl. Mitchell Wojtowicz was one of the Marines who helped Virginia that day. He said the unit’s physical size made helping her a no-brainer, and he hopes anyone would do the same in that situation.
“If there was anyone who was going to be able to help her, it was us,” Mitchell said. “Because you’ve got six, 6-foot-tall, 230- to 240-pound guys.”
“It’s just about doing the right thing when no one’s looking,” Cpl. Jared Tosner agreed. “We weren’t expecting anyone to be recording or looking. We just wanted to do the right thing.”
Virginia uploaded a video of her rescue to TikTok, where it went viral. She later had a chance to thank Mitchell and Jared at the Marine Corps barracks in Southeast Washington, D.C. She told the men how much their help meant to her, especially because her own grandfather is a World War II veteran who is buried in Arlington.
Virginia’s dad is also a Gulf War veteran. When she told him about the rescue, both father and daughter were moved to tears.
“My father said in the Gulf War, he did, and continues to have, such respect for the Marines,” Virginia said. “I sent him the video, and he called me back, and he started crying. Because it was so emotional for him.”
Both Marines agreed that rescue missions like this should be the norm in our society. “And if people just reciprocate that, and do good unto others, I think our country is headed in a good direction,” Jared added.
What a dramatic, emotional day for this young woman. Next time we’re in a jam, we’re going to pray that six burly Marines show up for us, too. You never know!
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