Nightly News   |  October 16, 2013

Wife of saluting soldier: ‘It moves me to tears’

Josh Hargis fought to get into the Army despite a high school injury, but during his fourth tour of duty in Afghanistan he was wounded by a bomb and a series of IEDs. As he lay in his hospital bed, seemingly unconscious, he was awarded a Purple Heart for his service – at which point he raised his hand in salute. His wife, who is pregnant, says she hopes the picture of her husband saluting serves as a reminder that soldiers are paying the ultimate sacrifice for their country. NBC’s Harry Smith reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally tonight, about the photograph we showed you last night that generated such a huge response. it showed a u.s. army range er wounded in afghanistan. he was thought to be unconscious when they came in to award him the purple heart in the hospital. he started to raise his hand. he struggled with his doctors and his tubing because he was trying to form a salute. tonight with we want to tell you more about his story, a young man from since that the who has become an emblem for patriotism and resolve. our report tonight from nbc's harry smith .

>> reporter: corporal josh hargis's salute brought tears to grown men's eyes. imagine what it meant to josh's wife taylor .

>> moved me to tears. i mean -- i think that's why it's gotten so much attention. out it's moving people. it's just such an amazing thing that he's done and that he did.

>> reporter: it's the salute seen around the world.

>> i was amazed. i was just overcome with pride. that's my husband. he's an amazing man.

>> reporter: because of a high school injury, hargis was denied entry into the army several times. when the army finally let him in, he blew through basic training and into ranger school , the elite infantry. hargis was on his fourth tour of duty in afghanistan. the salute didn't surprise his cam rads.

>> everyone that knows josh isn't surprised. that's the map he is.

>> reporter: they were on a mission southwest of kandahar when a suicide bomb debt natonated and ieds erupted leaving hargis and a dozen others injured. four americans were killed. pfc cody patterson, sergeant peters, first lieutenant jennifer moreno and sergeant patrick hawkins. taylor hargis hopes the picture of her husband serves as a re minder.

>> it's hard for people to understand because it doesn't directly affect them. there are a lot of people who don't have anyone in their family in the military and they don't know. they don't know there are still fights being fought. they don't know there are still guys coming home injureded with life altering injuries. they don't know people are lay laying life on the line and paid the ultimate price for their country. people don't no .

>> reporter: taylor has been at his side. together anticipating a blessed event next spring.

>> we are excited. i'm very early in my pregnancy. so it's still very new to us. i feel good.

>> reporter: taylor said her husband is in good spirits, that he's a strong guy . that he's doing well. and that they are thankful.

>> i'm very fortunate that he's here. you know. i'm fortunate he's still alive and that we still get to have our life together.

>> reporter: harry smith , nbc news.