A grandfather with Alzheimer's has given his grandson who's going into the Navy his first salute.

Nicholas Allen had always hoped his grandfather, Gail Allen, would be able to be there to watch him be commissioned in the U.S. Navy.

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So last month, when he graduated from Cornell University, he made sure his grandfather would be there to see him graduate - meaning he could give him his first salute.

Nicholas is following in the steps of his grandfather, who previously served in the Navy, by going to nuclear power school with the goal of working on a Naval submarine.

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Growing up, Nicholas would hear stories all about his grandfathers service in the Navy.

"My dad would tell the stories from my grandfather of his military time," he told Good Morning America.

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"When it came time, I decided I also wanted to be in the military. And I knew I liked engineering and knew that career path with submarines would be a good one to follow."

Gail Allen joined the Navy after leaving high school and served for thirteen years, only leaving in order to gain custody of his two sons.


Kenneth Allen, Ph.D., Nicholas' dad and Gails son, credited his dad as "he gave up his career for us."

Nicholas' commissioning took place last year but sadly Gail was unable to attend as he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.


So, this year when Nicholas learned that his grandfather would be unable to attend his graduation, he decided to travel to Gails home in South Carolina to do his first salute.

The first salute is a military traditions whereby a newly-pinned officer receives their first salute from an enlisted service member.

"It's a really big deal. It's a sign of respect to be given the first salute," Nicholas told GMA.

After traveling to his grandfathers house, Nicholas and Gail stood in the back garden, both in their uniforms, and saluted.

"My mother was determined that there was no way my dad's uniform was going to fit, and it fit perfectly," Kenneth Allen, Gail's son said.

"We put it on him and he came out and he was standing taller than he has in years. My mother was in tears. We're at a good time to be able to share this and be together. I'm thankful that we captured the moment."

Simply amazing. Congratulations, Nicholas!