Meet the 88-year-old veteran who stops to salute every flag he passes on his daily walks

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The coronavirus pandemic has kept people home for months on end, prompting some to notice things they may not have before. For people in one Dauphin County neighborhood, that includes the walk of a man that’s different than the rest.

Donald Bronson has been going for his two-mile morning walks around his Rutherford neighborhood for years. But it wasn’t until recently that many realized what he does 10 times along the way.

“About 7 o’ clock in the morning,” said Bronson.

That’s the time you can catch the 88-year-old leaving his house for his daily stroll.

“He’s very friendly,” said Susan Allen, Bronson’s daughter. “He’s very sociable. most people really like him.”

“Thank you Mr. Bronson,” a neighbor says as Bronson walks by.

“Taking pictures of your flag,” Bronson said. He’s describing why he’s being accompanied by our abc27 cameras.

“No problem sir. You salute it every day,” the neighbor responds with a salute.

That neighbor is right: Bronson stops to salute that flag, and every flag he passes, every day.

“I fought for the flag,” said Bronson.

He takes the extra time out of habit and respect.

“I started in the military,” said Bronson. “I still do it.”

Bronson joined the military in 1948, and did two tours in Korea and two in Vietnam.

He was also a paratrooper in the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions for 18 years, and went on special mission as a Green Beret.

That dad of three retired as a first sergeant.

Whether he’s wearing a uniform or civilian clothes, our country is always on his mind.

“I could talk about the military down in Fort Wayne, Georgia,” said Bronson. “My daughter, Susan, was born down there.”

“I was his favorite child,” Allen said with a laugh.

Yes, Bronson admits with a smile, she is his favorite.

But even she was shocked when her childhood friend sent her a video posted on Facebook.

A neighbor caught one of her dad’s salutes on camera, and it’s been shared more than 14,000 times.

“I knew my father takes walks all the time when the weather is permitting, but no, I had no idea that he stopped to salute flags,” said Allen.

But this veteran isn’t really interested in social media fame.

“Whatever,” Bronson jokes.

To Bronson, he’s just doing something little, that means a lot.

“A lot of people admire him,” said Allen.

“It’s just automatic,” said Bronson. “I walk down. I see, stop to salute the flag, keep on walking.”

Bronson stays busy as a grandfather of three. He and his wife of 62 years, Pauline, are expecting their first great-grandchild this month.

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