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Veteran honored by Cardinals has passed away

Posted at 10:13 AM, Apr 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-20 13:44:28-04

Back in November of 2015, a photo of Larry Fitzgerald greeting Colonel James F. Ballard went viral.

Col. Ballard served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War, and was given a field pass by the Arizona Cardinals just two months after his wife passed away.

Before the Cardinals took on the Cincinnati Bengals that day, Fitzgerald walked over to Col. Ballard, removed his glove and shook his hand. He was given a signed game ball, and family said he was smiling the entire night after Fitzgerald took the time to say hi.

 Unfortunately, Fitzgerald and the Ballard family confirms that Col. Ballard passed away Tuesday.

Col. Ballard’s grandson commented on Fitzgerald’s post, and told him what the gesture meant every day to his grandfather since that game.

“Words cannot express my gratitude towards you Mr. Fitzgerald! My grandfather talked about this moment almost every day for the past 5 months,” Chris Ballard said. “Such a simple gesture as a hand shake meant the world to him. God bless you!”