By Ben Walley
This retired US Army staff sergeant is the definition of a true patriot.
John Cooper, 84, was colourblind from birth and had never been able to see the true colours of the US flag.
But even with a pair of glasses to help him see the vivid red stripes, the Korean War veteran declares the flag “always was beautiful.”
His caring daughter Kristin Ottolino bought the Enchroma glasses for his birthday on October 1 as a surprise.
As her daughter Rio, 16, hands her grandpa his present, Kristin tells him they are not just sunglasses, and lets him know he will never be colour blind again.
John immediately looks towards the American flag outside the home in Marengo, Illinois, and takes a few moments before saying: “It’s beautiful.”
Kristin, a nail technician, said: “My dad is red and green colour blind, which meant he fought under a flag whose true colours he has never seen before this day.
“But even when I asked him if he thought the flag looked beautiful, and I was expecting him to say yes, I never thought he would say ‘it always was’.
“That’s my dad – a true American patriot.
“I couldn’t see under the glasses, but I know my dad and I’m pretty sure he was teary-eyed, especially as he got really quiet.
“He’s quiet normally, which I why I had to keep asking him questions, but I am sure he was overwhelmed with the colours he has never seen before.
“He thought I was crazy when I told him what the glasses were. He had never even seen a commercial for them before, so they were a complete surprise.
“He was definitely wearing his ‘are you kidding me’ face.
“We couldn’t love him any more than we do.”