The man seen standing on an overpass above Interstate 15 in Utah wanted to remain anonymous.
He wasn't photographed up close Tuesday morning — Veterans Day — in Lehi, and he wore sunglasses to help conceal his identity.
"I don't want anybody to know who I am if I can help it,” he told KSL-TV in Salt Lake City.
So what did this man do that prompted so many emotional folks to call up a news station? He simply stood on the overpass in his Army uniform, an American flag beside him, and saluted motorists as they rolled by.
“I'm not here to make any big, grand statements for anybody," he told KSL. "Just enjoying the day.”
Of course, when reporters are with somebody making news, getting the person's name is the first order of business — but the man politely declined on camera: “No, I'm good. Thanks, though — I appreciate it."
But the solider did talk about other people — namely the thankful civilians that he and countless others have protected over the course of American history, often with their lives.
"I had a guy stop, an older gentleman — here he was all crying already," the soldier told KSL. "[He] got out of his car and shook my hand. It about made me all tear up.”
Some have speculated who the man might be: several commenters noted that his uniform signifies a warrant officer — an "adaptive technical expert, combat leader, trainer and adviser," according to the U.S. Army website.
But others noted that not knowing his name is just fine: his request to remain anonymous goes hand-in-hand with the makeup of a soldier, and even more genuinely reflects the sacrificial nature and selflessness of all those in America's armed forces, past and present.
Still, for this man, the appreciation others have given back hits right to the heart.
“It means a lot to me," he told KSL. "It means a lot to a lot of people."