For over 12 years, Elizabeth Laird, of Fort Hood, TX, has been touching soldiers' hearts with hugs and messages of hope. Now veterans of the Iraq War want to repay the "Hug Lady" of Fort Hood with some hugs and kindness of their own as she lies in the hospital.
You'll cheer when you read this heartwarming story, which is the perfect continuation of Veteran's Day. Then watch the stirring video below.
Elizabeth Laird, 83, started hugging soldiers back in June 2003. The Fort Hood, TX, native embraced soldiers when they deployed and left the U.S.--and she greeted them the same way as they came home. In the years since, she's hugged about half a million soldiers, earning her the nickname the "Hug Lady."
As one soldier told her, "You were the last hug I got when I left here, and now it's the first hug when I get home." Why did Laird do it? As she explained, "These soldiers--that is America. They love this country. And anything I can do to get a smile out of them--to let them know we care."
Unknown to everyone, Laird was battling breast cancer. And this week she was rushed to the hospital because the cancer had spread to her bones and lungs. The soldiers she'd hugged came by to hug her.
As one soldier put it: "I made it my business to get down here and show her a little love because she's shown me plenty of love." The soldiers have also raised $60,000 to pay for her medical bills.