Mom Panicked after 7-Year-Old Takes off at Cemetery. Finds Him Standing at Soldier's Grave


Independence Day is a day when children paint their faces and dress in red, white, and blue to show their patriotism. They watch fireworks, eat hot dogs, and spend time with family and friends as they celebrate our country’s freedom.

One boy has a different way of celebrating on national holidays and it has touched the heart of one soldier’s mother specifically. On Memorial Day, 7-year-old Mason Lee and his family placed American flags at the graves of soldiers at Wilmington National Cemetery.

Mason ran off from his mother, Sarah, and she was panicked. Not too much later, Lee found her son sitting at the grave of a soldier.

Mason asked countless questions about Sgt. TJ Butler. Was he a father? Did he have a family?

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He drew a picture for Butler, wrote a note, and signed his name. He placed the paper in a plastic bag so it wouldn’t be damaged by weather.

Months later, Mason was able to meet Butler’s mom on the Fourth of July. She had found his note left on her son’s tombstone and was deeply touched by his kindness.

“I am grateful that in some aspects my son is not forgotten,” said Butler’s mom, Leslie. Butler was killed in Afghanistan in 2012.

Leslie Butler visits her son’s grave often, and is glad to know that others are doing the same. She knows that as long as Mason is around, there will always be a flag at her son’s grave to remember his bravery and sacrifice.

Butler’s teachers had always told his mother that he was a social butterfly. She believes he is still a social butterfly in some ways, and that is why Mason was drawn to his grave in the cemetery.

Mason does not plan on stopping his annual visits to put out flags at Wilmington National Cemetery. Now knowing more about Butler, he promises that will be the first grave he visits.

Mason’s desire to honor fallen soldiers is a beautiful example of what it means to truly be an American. His family’s tradition of celebrating the summer holidays by thinking of those who fought for our freedom will continue to inspire many for years to come.

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