Fallen Soldier on My Delta Flight

Fallen Soldier on my Delta Flight Oct 29 2013 -003Delta Flight 2255 from Atlanta to Los Angeles seemed to be an ordinary flight with the exception of Candy, who was the most loving flight attendant I’ve ever encountered. Besides using her southern charm to quickly defuse every situation, she began her welcome announcement by thanking the handful of uniformed soldiers on-board for serving our country. Her poignant message was followed by applause and put into perspective that none of us would be able to do what we do if it wasn’t for these brave men and women.

But this transcontinental flight turned out to be everything but ordinary. We later learned, when the captain got on the PA system about 45 minutes prior to landing, that we were transporting a fallen soldier. The plane went quiet as he explained that there was a military escort on-board and asked that everyone remain seated for a couple of minutes so the soldiers could get off first. He also warned us not to be alarmed if we see fire trucks since Los Angeles greets their fallen military with a water canon salute. See my video below.

A few minutes after touchdown, we did indeed have a water canon salute, which I’d previously only experienced on happy occasions like inaugural flights. This time, the water glistening on the windowpanes looked like tears.

Passengers in the airport must have been worried when they saw our plane pull into gate 69A, as we had a full police and fire escort, front and back.

I was on the left side of the plane and later realized that the family could be seen off to the right, standing with the United States Army Honor Guard. According to Wikipedia, each military branch has its own honor guard, usually military in nature, and is composed of volunteers who are carefully screened. One of the primary roles for honor guards is to provide funeral honors for fallen comrades.

Fallen Soldier on my Delta Flight Oct 29 2013 -001When the jet door opened, another military officer addressed the escort who was standing at attention. He then stepped on the plane and told us passengers “I just addressed the escort. It is a sworn oath to bring home, to the family, the fallen.” He paused and then said, “Today you all did that, you are all escorts, escorts of the heart.” And then thanked us for our time and walked off the plane.

As you can imagine, everyone was silent, no one got up, not even that person from the back row who pretends they don’t speak English so they can be first off the plane. I’m sure most had meteor-sized lumps in their throats and tears in their eyes like I did.

Fallen Soldier on my Delta Flight Oct 29 2013 -002It only got more emotional when I deplaned. There was a large number of passengers, who are normally in a hurry to get home or make a connection, standing by the window to witness something truly moving. To see the Honor Guard and family waiting patiently, while LAX baggage handlers and a military loadmaster remove the flag covered casket first from the cargo hold, was humbling to say the least. I’m not sure if it was the fallen soldier’s mother or wife who I watched slowly walk up to the coffin while a few other family members, wrapped in blankets, stood near with a dozen or so of the Honor Guards standing in salute.

As soon as I saw her reach out to put her hand on her baby’s casket, I walked away.

This ordinary flight became extraordinary and is one that I will never forget.

Thank you to all the military who protect our beautiful country and let us live the lives we are able to lead. Without you we would be nothing. And thank you to the Honor Guard for making sure these fallen soldiers, warriors and heroes are not treated like just any piece of luggage as they used to, but rather with the care and respect they so rightly deserve.

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Comments

  1. That truly brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Thanks for sharing, this was very touching, and yes while reading I felt a lump in my throat and was choking up.

      • It is true about the fallen soldiers being treated lik cargo. My Brother was killed in Viet Nam in 1968 I I remember how upset I was when they unloaded his casket with a fork lift wrong. I went nuts..

        • mommommary says:

          Hello Gary – I can sympathize with what you wrote. At the time of the Viet Nam “conflict” I was still in high school, but let me tell you that I was not ignorant as to what was going on. Let’s put it this way – you wouldn’t have wanted to be around our dinner table as I was very vocal about the way the Soldiers were being treated. My own father was a WWII vet who never spoke of what he saw. My husband of 40+ years is a Viet Nam Era Vet, a Desert Shield/Storm vet and by his own admission, upon his return from Desert Shield/Storm, he was embarrassed by the reaction of the community because he remembered what it was like for the service members on their return from Viet Nam. To him he was fulfilling his commitment. He has since retired from the U.S. Army but I’m sure if he was given the opportunity, he wouldn’t think twice about returning to active duty. He is all about commitment and I am so proud of him. We both know that because of his age (he’s 66), this will never happen.

          I am happier now today with the way our Veterans are greeted but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about why some of them are returning from an action that I don’t necessarily agree with. I will honor my father’s memory (he has since passed) and my husband’s commitment to our country, and I will not besmirch the memory of any service member who has given the ultimate. I cry when I think about these men and women and the lives they have affected by their ultimate sacrifice. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I support our Service Members but I don’t necessarily agree with the current political/military actions. I just wish they would all come home.

          Thank you for listening to me rant. I wish you all the best.

          • I agree and after 45 years I still live those days and weeks after he died every day, it is crazy but it never goes away. .

          • What a coincidence, I was just looking at my Brothers medals today, your husband must be a special person. All service men that served in combat have so much inside, they never want to talk about it. My uncle who was a machine gunner on a tank in Germany never talked about it until just before he passed away as if he wanted me to remember how bad it was.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes I agree he will return if he could. I spent 40 in the army and did not want to leave at age 60 but they have a rule called MDR 60 which means when you turn 60 you have to retire. Thank your man for his service and tell him I am with him in heart. SFC 57/97

          • mommommary says:

            Thank you for your kind words. I have shared your message with my husband. We wish you well

          • Mohun Raman says:

            That was no rant Ma’am. My deepest respects.

          • I just finished reading KILLING PATTON by Bill O’reilly and his helper in writing it.
            I was nine years old when WORLD WAR II ended. i was a motherless child, raised by an elderly father who was janitor and I had one brother three years older.

            As I read this book and saw some mighty gruesome details and “body parts”, as some of the soldiers were blown apart, and how difficult it was for our soldiers to fight in the ARDENNE forest in the dead of winter for Bastogne, I could not help but remember how poor we were, (which at the time, I did not THINK “poor”, because I did not know or realize we were.My mother died when I was five in the year 1941.

            I lived a rather HAPPY POOR CHILDHOOD, with the wonderful love of a loving father and brother.

            However, after I finished reading the book, my heart was heavy with the grief I felt for all those young men 19yrs on up, who LAID DOWN THEIR LIFE FOR ME SO THAT I COULD LIVE A HAPPY POOR LIFE! I then also thought of LORD JESUS CHRIST WHO ALSO LAID DOWN HIS LIFE FREELY FOR ME.

            GOD BLESS EVERY SOLDIER WHO HAS EVER GONE TO WAR TO GIVE US OUR FREEDOMS. THERE ARE SO MANY OUT THERE WHO DO NOT REALIZE THE SACRIFICES, EVIL WAS COMING FOR US AND OUR SOLDIERS STOOD IN THE GAP TO “KEEP US FREE” TO BE HAPPY, SAD OR WHATEVER!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Watch the movie”Taking Chance” it is about taking a marine home and all the people involved. It is ver heart warming and you will cra a lot.

    • Jason Allen says:

      That was an awesome story. I am former Army Honor Guard myself. I served at Arlington National Cemetery for three years, and had the privilege of getting to perform ceremonies for many fallen soldiers. I also went to Afghanistan and saw things from the other side as well. This is a story that should be on the front page of every newspaper and talk show across America. As terrible as it is to lose a fallen comrade it is a humbling and unforgettable experience to see the citizens of this country pay their respects. Thank you for sharing. I will most certainly pass this on.

    • Many Americans don’t give our military the respect they deserve. As you mentioned “without our military we would be nothing” I truly believe that. Thank you so much for bringing this story to light and thank you and all the other passengers on that flight for showing the respect deserved to the soldier who gave his life for our country but most of all THANK YOU to the fallen soldier and so many others who gave their lives and continue to fight for our country.

    • Linda Senchoway says:

      What is the fallen soldier’s name?

  2. Just got goosebumps here sitting in my office. Thank you for the reminder that everything we do on a daily basis is made possible by the bravery and heroism of our country’s military. United we stand.

  3. Wow. Thank you for sharing this moving post and video. Thank you to all of our military men and women for your service.

  4. your poignant story will be remembered always; I cried all the way through reading it

  5. Such a beautiful and poignant tribute to a fallen soldier. The whole homecoming was done with such dignity by both Delta and the military escort. And for the passengers to be thanked by the military escort for acting as this soldiers escorts was very special. Johnny, Thank you for sharing this very special experience, Kristin

  6. Thanks for sharing this. Reminds me what’s most important in life–and getting off the plane first isn’t in that category. You wrote a wonderful tribute!

  7. So sad. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  8. Thank you for sharing. Tears.

  9. What a powerful tribute. Thank you so much for sharing. I think I would’ve walked away at the same time as you. I’m getting tears just by reading this, let alone what I’d do if I were present in that situation.

  10. STEVE TAYLOR says:

    MAY YOU R.I.P. MY FRIEND, R,I,P.

  11. Thanks for sharing, that is a special trip. I watched the movie Taking Chance a few years ago. Kevin Bacon is the military escort for a fallen soldier. I’ve never cried that much through a movie, very well done and extremely moving.

    • Anonymous says:

      I too have watched “Taking Chance”. It was so very powerful. This 63-year-old man had a lot of tears streaming down his face, wishing that more honor and respect were present in our society.

  12. Kaeli C willwrite4food2 says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. It’s important to remember the price of our freedom. Keeping all those who serve and their families in my thoughts and prayers today and everyday. Thank you for your service. I’ve got a lot of friends and family in the military and they don’t hear it enough.

  13. What a flight. One you wont forget.

  14. So sad I could hardly read it. But thanks for reminding me …

  15. I remember the movie Taking Chance which was about a military escort. We owe our fallen and their families more than words can express.

  16. Thank you for posting this. So moving.

  17. So humbling. I am completely teary right now.

  18. thank you for sharing and heartfelt thanks to all the families who have served and the ones who have lost loved ones!

  19. Oh dear Johnny – Chill bumps and tears have been replaced with appreciation that I have for your article- thank you for posting this for us. Sometimes the experiences while traveling are so moving that it changes us forever.

  20. Thank you for sharing, May the brave soldier RIP

  21. Johnny, thank you so much for taking the time to share this. I’m one of the blessed – my husband has come home alive every time. It doesn’t make it any easier though. All we can do is live each day together as though it’s our last.

    And for the others who have commented, thank you as well for your recognition of all that our military families live with on a daily basis. They’re much appreciated.

    • Dan Larson says:

      Sharii, First thank your husband for us for serving this great nation with honor. I am a Veteran as well and have been honored to attend funerals at Arlington and see the respect given to these brave servicemen who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Secondly thank you as well. Many seem to forget that while you didn’t take the same oath we did, you are a Combat Service Members Wife who took an oath to your husband and are therefore a Veteran of sorts yourself. Thank you for supporting your husband and this country. I pray you will never have to experience what so many other Militay Wives/Mom’s etc have had to face. Dan L.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for your service.

  22. A truly moving piece. Let us never forget the effort of military members and peace workers who do so much to make our world a safe place to explore.

  23. Thank you for sharing. I lost my own father, a policeman in the line of duty and I know the families appreciate the respect everyone showed their loved one. God bless these brave soldiers and their families.

    • Johnny Jet Johnny Jet says:

      Wow. Sorry to hear that. God Bless

      • Anonymous says:

        This is such a moving tribute. I am sure the family would be touched to read your story if you could ever track them down, and based on your writing skills I bet you could track them down. Thank you for sharing, Johnny.

      • To Johnny Jet,

        A wonderful tribute to one of our fallen brave soldiers! However, one of your statements in this article was unnecessary, dishonorable and biased.

        “As you can imagine, everyone was silent and no one got up, not even that person from the back row who pretends he doesn’t [understand] English so he can be first off the plane.”

        Who are you to presume that a person from the back row does not speak English? Did you converse w/ this or these individuals who bolt off of a plane pretending not to “understand English”? How did you arrive at that conclusion?

        As a former f.a. & an oft traveler, I have never encountered such a person. People like me have little tolerance for the intolerant and you punctuated this otherwise great show of respect to one of our own with your personal bigoted comment. Bev of Boston, MA

        • mommommary says:

          I don’t think his remark about the person in the back was meant to be bigoted. I have traveled by air and have found that his statement wasn’t far from the mark. So are you going to call me bigoted, or did you just need to blow off some steam? Perhaps he should have said the disabled or geriatric!

        • Yep I would expect you to be from liberal Boston. So he made a comment, big deal. Start living life Bev and stop all your PC nonsense.

        • Obviously Bev has totally missed the point of the post. She is too busy nurturing that chip on her shoulder to notice that the story is about a fallen American soldier, not her and her experience.

        • Anonymous says:

          @Bev – I read *NOTHING* that was “bigoted” or “intolerant.” Leave it to a bed wetting liberal like you to RUIN the comment section. I get so sick and tired of you people claiming “racism” and “bigotry” on everything YOU don’t agree with. Go pound sand! And change your sheets, liberal. It’s people like you turning this nation into a bunch of mindless drone candyasses.

          • carla axelson says:

            Please stop with the “liberal” comment. I am a liberal. My son has served in 3 tours. I have absolute respect for our military.

          • Thanks “Anonymous”! I agree with your comments!!! You can always tell the liberals because when they run out of semi-legitimate talking points and have been shut down, they turn to the good old standbys – “racist”, “bigot”, “__-phobe! Then they deny they were calling people names!!!!

            RIP to the fallen soldier; such a sad event, but such an honorable event the passengers participated in!

        • Bev’s just mad Johnny blew her cover.

        • Danny Braudrick says:

          Bev, leave, now!

        • How dare you!

          • How dare you how dare her! This Johnny Jet character’s cheap shot at the passenger who allegedly tried to exit the plane is contemptible. He knows that passenger was pretending not to speak English how exactly? Thanks to Bev for calling him on it.

          • mommommary says:

            How dare you? Were you there? And his remark about a passenger feigning to not understand the announce is just a comparison. Are you aware that some passengers from FIRST CLASS got up and tried to leave? Are you? You and Bev should sit down and have a happy meal together because you sound like petulant children.

  24. I was recently on an American Airlines flight that was transporting a fallen soldier home. It is the most moving experience I have ever had on an aircraft. Makes you realize what is important.

    Thank you for sharing your experience.

  25. Wow, very moving. With DFW as my home airport, I frequently got to see soldiers coming home to joyous welcomes. I always thought that was moving, but wow…I had never considered the other homecomings. Thanks for sharing.

  26. Thank you for a most moving reminder and a report of those who understand what is important and whom we have to thank most for our freedom.

  27. all gave some…some gave all.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for such a moving story..RIP. I can’t help but teared up after reading this.

  29. As a veteran who escorted his friends casket home. Thank you all from our hearts.

    • AMEN and thank you all for your service. I always try to thank any Veteran or Active Service I see for their service. We owe them a Great Debt and we need to wake up and realize that. To that and other families May GOD Bless you all. To the fallen may you R.I.P. with your GOD safe knowing your battles are fought it’s time to rest.

  30. kevin brooks says:

    welcome home be at peace you are now with the LORD

  31. Beautiful and moving story, Johnny. This is travel
    writing at its best. Not a story on a glamorous destination, but a story from a moment in American life that should be documented reverently. Thank you.

    I am proud to be a fellow member of the Society of American Travel Writers with you.

  32. It is too bad the entire Nation, especially our Members of Congress, and our Members of State Legislatures, do not have the respect for our fallen soldiers. We should all respect our VETS.

  33. Johnny,

    Thank you for sharing this special moment with your readers. The Los Angeles Fire Department is humbled in being allowed to honor - in some small way – the fallen members of our Armed Forces at their final homecoming. We deeply appreciate the work of airline crews and the patience of air passengers during such solemn occasions, which serve as a vivid reminder that our freedom isn’t free.

    Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

    Brian Humphrey
    Firefighter/Specialist
    Public Service Officer
    Los Angeles Fire Department

  34. Emotionally poignant tribute to all our fallen men & women – thanks for sharing.

  35. Having 2 family members who served active duty, I thank you for sharing this story. May he rest in peace and God Bless his family and all the soldiers and their family members.

  36. I work with Candy, one of the most amazing women to ever teach me in the air. She’s a gem. And thank you to all who serve.

  37. Thank you for reminding us that as we go through our lives as “normal” there are grieving families here in the US that are hurting because their loved one paid the supreme price for our freedom. Today is “All Hallowed Eve” or Halloween as we call it. A time to remember those who have passed from us. What a timely reminder. Thanks for your post.

  38. Thank you for sharing this story. I can’t even begin to imagine what the family is going through, but hope they understand how much their sacrifices mean to ordinary people like me. God Bless America!

  39. Thanks for this piece – it gave me shivers and tears. I wasn’t aware that they ever transported fallen soldiers on commercial aircraft. The way this was handled may have given some measure of solace to the soldier’s undoubtedly devastated family. If only we could quit being in these wars where we can’t win, we can’t solve their problems and we lose some of our best and bravest. My heart breaks for the loss of this soldier and the pain of his loved ones.

  40. Truly humbling. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience.

  41. Anonymous says:

    So touching .thank you for sharing. THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS THE FAMILY OF THE FALLEN SOLDIER!!

  42. This is truly a debt that can never be repaid!

  43. momofone65 says:

    Deserving escort, just never seems enough for the huge sacrifice they give for All! Thank You each and every Military service person. We owe a enormous amount of gratitude to you!
    Thank You for posting this sad and moving moment.

  44. speechless thank you for serving our country may god bless you and your family

  45. Gerald Montgomery says:

    Thank you for sharing this story. We all needed to hear it.

  46. Anonymous says:

    I thank the family who will feel the j
    Lose of one so dear . I will pray that his deed will never be forgotten by generations to come who will live in peace in a land that so many went before to secure this peace and security so many take for granted. God bless america

  47. Anonymous says:

    I have flown with caskets as cargo before but never military. This piece is so moving, I can not see thru my tears. God bless the people who show the respect for our fallen heroes. It is hard to bury a loved one but one who dies in a war is so much harder as they gave their life for what they believe in. God bless their family and friends. God bless the USA and bring home ALL OUR MILITARY SAFELY AND SOON!!!!

  48. Only God knows what these very Special Families go through. “Thank You” To Our Military somehow doesn’t seem to be enough. These Young Men and Women who sacrifice their LIFE for OUR FREEDOM, are the most EXTRAORDINARY HUMAN BEINGS on the face of this Earth.. Thank you for posting this.

  49. ” Freedom is not Free,” It come with the most Precious God Given Gift on the Face of the Earth, ” A Human Life.” God Bless Our Military and their Families.

  50. Being part of an escort for a fallen soldier is one of the most rewarding things you can ever do. There is a group called “The Patriot Guard Riders”. We volunteer at the family request to be part of funerals for our current fallen soldiers and for those who have served in the past. Check out this group and volunteer.

    • I have been a member of the Patriot Guard Riders for many years. You will never meet a better bunch of guys/gals. Riding a motorcycle is not a requirement, only respect. Patriot Guard dot org.

  51. Tom Beardmore says:

    I’m a crusty old man, but this brought me to tears. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    God Bless and protect our military and families, and may there never, ever have to be need to unload a fallen warrior. Pray, God, that they all come home to their homes and families safely. Amen.

  52. Thank you for sharing your story. We are truly blessed to live in the United States and have the honor of being able to live free because of the dedicated military.

  53. Wow… what a moving piece. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  54. Ilene Karpman says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this sad occasion with us. I never realized how how fallen soldiers are returned home. The dignity and warmth they are given is the least we as a nation can give them and their families. This article and video should be seen by all Americans.

  55. God Bless America, and God bless our soldiers.

    • There is no god.. and if there was he/she/it must not like our soldiers very much because he/she/it allows them to be sent off to die in desert wastelands to further enrich the Bushes and Obamas of the world

      • How sad for you that you feel the way you do. My son is a Wounded Warrior. I did not force him to join and fight. He volunteered. He could have stayed state-side, but chose to go overseas and be in the throngs of evil. I am very proud that my son was and still is so brave. I have no bitterness for a war that was started without my say-so. I would not choose to put myself in harms way the way my son has done. But again, I am VERY proud of the man he has become. My life has been enriched even more because of my son.

        Ted, you sound like a very bitter person and I pity you. You sound as though you never find the good in anything.

        • Mommommary says:

          Kim – please tell your son that I am sending my thanks, prayers and hugs to him. You should be proud. I know I am. God Bless Our Service Members and Their Families. Thank you all.

      • Ted, always remember this soldier paid the ultimate sacrifice in order for you to have the freedom to make such a heartless comment. What have you done to justify your existence? There is nothing you can do or say that could tarnish the honor of these men and women.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ignore the troll.

  56. Very touching story thank you so much for sharing it with us!!!

  57. Tears streaming down my face. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  58. its sad this person had to die for nothing other than corporate gains. I’m sorry there is no defense of freedom here. This is empire pure and simple. Tears were brought to my eyes as well, but not because of honor or duty, but of the wasted lives of millions of people in the middle east and thousands of ordinary americans

    • The amazing thing here is that you persist in making asinine political comments about the personal enrichment of American leaders and corporations. Who elects these people? Who buys from these businesses? YOU do. And what about the millions of people in these two countries who now enjoy a much higher level of freedom than before? Or getting rid of a despot who killed hundreds of thousands of his own people and waged war with his neighbors? Or taking out the Taliban who gave shelter to those responsible for 9/11? Whose responsible for that? Our brave American military – not you with your pathetic whining.

    • Don’t feed the troll

      • Where is Ted Logan wrong? If you have an argument to make make it. There is no honor in blindly serving in an imperial army. and dying in it only makes you, at best, a victim.

    • Lisa (PROUD Military Mom) says:

      Ted, I bet you are one of these radicals who disrupts the funerals of our fallen soldiers! You should learn when to keep your mouth shut as your opinions offend those who have lost sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters who PROUDLY served this country. I would imagine your brain can never comprehend how distasteful and inappropriate your comments are. Don’t stomp on the right of freedom of speech when it comes to a fallen hero (that freedom along with many others was given to you by all who have served and are serving now)!!

      • @Ted Logan: It takes a special sort of ingrate to disrespect those who go into harm’s way so that you can sleep in peace. The radical Islamofascists who attacked this country and killed almost 3000 people would love to add you to their list of victims. We are making sure that doesn’t happen. And, you’re welcome.

  59. This is your best piece yet, Johnny!!!! I felt as if I was a passenger on that flight. As you described the water hitting the windows as tears,I couldn’t hold back mine. I had to share with my friends, many of whom are affiliated with the Military, and they too have expressed how touching your story was. Thank you for sharing an event that many Americans fail to realise still occurs.

  60. As a menber of the Honor Guard this is the highest honor that can be given. When we do this and the funerals I always try to put myself in their place. I do the best that I can cause I know this could have been m. .Its hard at time to keep a straight face but we have to not let ourtears and hear break show till we are going. I hold the highest respect for any menber of an honor guard. It takes that special kind of person to do this .

    • Thank you Lloyd for your service may god be with you and your family during yr contributions to our country ….words will never express gratitude for our soldiers both past and present for what they are and have done for not only our country but for people like myself and my children and family….I have a few family members who have served in Iraq and other countries for some peace of mind their children should have it easier living in this country for many years to come..thank you to all the heroes both fallen and surviving..MAY GOD BLESS U AND THE U.S.A.!!

  61. Thank you for sharing the recognition of the soldier and the soldier’s family. May we honor the sacrifice by working for peace so no more are lost.

  62. Thank you for sharing this moment.

  63. What happened to the Holley Provision voted into federal law in 2007 and named after fallen hero Matthew Holley?

    It required the fallen service member to be returned via a charter flight to the nearest airport to the home town of the fallen hero, and met by a military escort. This was to avoid the fallen from being treated and handled like a box of auto parts with forklifts and baggage handlers on commercial flights, stored in freight warehouses overnight, etc. (Prior to this being enacted there were horror stories about less than appropriate treatment of the caskets sent via airlines.)

    When did that honorable way of returning the heroes home end??

  64. As an aside, the nation’s first memorial dedicated exclusively to honoring all the fallen Americans from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is located in Irvine, CA. It started in 2003 as a grassroots temporary memorial and became a permanent memorial in November 2010. Currently there are 6,714 names engraved in the granite panels of the Memorial, covering all those who died between October 2001 and June 2013. Families who have lost a loved one, and friends of the fallen may request free name rubbings by submitting a request form on the Gold Star page of http://www.NorthwoodMemorial.com. Direction to the Memorial are on the home page of the site.

  65. Anonymous says:

    God Bless our Fallen Heroes
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nf_1-ujnykE

  66. Thank you so much for sharing your moving experience. I am Gold Star Mother, my only child was KIA in Iraq in May 2004. When he was returned to SFO, it was heart-wrenching to see his flag covered casket unveiled after the plane pulled up.
    As much as I was aware, I did see all members of ground crews stop and salute my son and I believe the passengers were not allowed off the plane until my son was removed. Other than that, that day was possibly worse than getting the knock on the door.
    Every American should see the return ceremony as our KIA’s are .honored when they come home.
    The Holley Act, I believe is enacted when a soldier’s home is located more than a few hours from the nearest major airport. There were some ugly and unfortunate airport experiences early on in the wars. The Army first told me that we would pick up my son in the commercial baggage area. Imagine my expletive deleted response to that suggestion.
    On a lighter note, as our family waited on the tarmac, the TSA was horrified that members of the Honor Guard were in possession of box cutters (to remove the casket from the plane) I assured them that this grieving mother had nothing on my mind other than to bring my boy home.
    Again, thank you for sharing your experience and for all of the people who commented on how important this ceremony is.
    Indeed, this is a debt that cannot be repaid.

    • Mommommary says:

      Thank you for raising such a wonderful son. Thank you for the ultimate sacrifice. Thank you for sharing your grief. May God Shine Down Upon You and Your Family. I am forever in your debt.

  67. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for finding the importance of this event and sharing it with all of us. As a proud American I was very choked up and was crying as I read the story. Let this be a reminder to all that there is a cost to our freedom that we enjoy as Americans and the price of that freedom we all take for granted. I cried for the solder who gave all to us Americans and the sacrifice of the family of the fallen solder. Least we forget this ultimate sacrifice as we lead our day to day life free from the harm of the world around us and how we have lessened 9/11 and what happened on that September morning. This moment is a reminder of that day. God speed to our fallen and God bless the families of the fallen and may we all have them in our prayers.

  68. Johnny I was a few seats behind you. Your comments were perfect. I’ll never forget it. My eyes teared up when I talked about it to my friends. My posted it on your piece on Facebook and one of her friends said it must have been an honor to be on that plane and it was

  69. I have two son’s now in the Marines. One is a 5 tour decorated veteran as a Explosive Ordinance Specialist. The other son is just now deploying over seas as a rifleman. I am very proud to have two of my eight children represent this family in making this world a better place. Without the bravery of our young warriors this world would be worse off without a doubt. I pray every night that ALL MIGHTY GOD protects our brave warriors around the world. As their fathers before them America’s young take the battle to our enemy so that we may live in peace here in this great country.

  70. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the respectful article about bringing our Fallen back to their families. Being a military father, it is important to me that all parties on the aircraft and ground, honor the Fallen and their family. Great coverage for such a solemn event, Anonymous

  71. Read your story, tried to share it with my wife.
    Could not get through it without getting emotional.
    Good job, thanks for sharing it

  72. By the way,
    Ted…Freedom to speak your part is guaranteed.
    You are also free to leave this country you think so little of

  73. As a former employee of an airline that took them home from the theater, it was always an honor to be dispatch and plan those flights. God Speed to all and thank you!

  74. I haven’t cried like this in years. And I have to say that in your lifetime it will be very rare to see a love like Katherine had for her husband.

  75. earl ketchum says:

    Let us not forget the one who are wounded in ways we can not see.
    they are the ones who suffer in silence.

  76. It is heartbreaking to realize their sacrifice is in vain and only benefits those in power. They are lured to their death by promises of honor that no longer exists in this age.

  77. Did you know Delta Air Lines has its own Honor Guard. They do an unbelievably great job honoring our Fallen Soldies everywhere they fly them and do nothing to advertize this. Everyone needs to watch this video.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_VGxfmDmEo

  78. nice story…but I experienced a better one….I was stationed in japan during the Vietnam war and when my rotation time came I was scheduled to depart from yokota ab near Tokyo. while waiting for my flight and announcement came over the pa that they needed a msgt with a top secret cryptographic clearance to volunteer to escort some crypto equipment back to the mainland. so saving about nine hours of time I volunteered for the job. when I boarded the cargo area of the C-141 aircraft I was amazed and saddened to see twenty caskets of fallen
    soldiers stacked in the cargo area. it was truly a event I will never forget…..

  79. Gretchen Digby says:

    What an honor and privilege for you to have been on that flight. I am so thankful for the technology we have today which allows these stories to be shared. I felt some of what you felt – experiencing this through your article and video. THANK YOU for allowing me to imagine what it was like for you and the other passengers, and to reflect on this great nation and our many heroes out there protecting it for us.

  80. Ted Crawford says:

    Very moving, but a far,far cry from the Vietnam War When returning from Vietnam in 1971 on an emergency flight due to the death of my father, I rode in the cargo hold of a C-5A. I was the lone passenger alive there. There were hundreds of caskets of needlessly fallen soldiers. When will we ever learn?

  81. Anonymous says:

    Your piece had my hairs on the back of my neck go up…having a nephew in the armed services makes me hope his mom never has to go through this. But it is with them that we all breath freely. Service to the country with little expectation in return – something that our elected could learn from.

  82. Anonymous says:

    How heart rendering to all who have expressed these thoughts… I too recall the day my only brother’s flag draped casket… was unloaded and rolled off the plane for my Father and I to receive in Toledo, Ohio during Viet Nam conflict…it was on his 21st Birthday …We were duly presented his honorary awards and medals posthumously to myself and our parents ; at a soon after …later date by other military dignitaries via a special flight arrival arrangement to the Toledo International airport where the military officers thanked us for his bravery and service to our Country… Moving and forever a memory of gratitude…for a sister to experience this honor for him serving in a war soooo unpopular

  83. Johnny:
    The Airport Police Officer that boarded your flight and asked for your patience was Officer Tommy Dye USN (retired) Master Chief. He’s a member of the elite LAXPD Honor Guard and started the Fallen Soldier Detail at LAX. He’s truly a special person.
    http://youtu.be/5ezbiUVNyLE

  84. A wonderful tribute to one of our fallen brave soldiers! However, the individual who wrote this article is dishonorable by this unnecessary comment:

    “As you can imagine, everyone was silent and no one got up, not even that person from the back row who pretends he doesn’t [understand] English so he can be first off the plane.” Who are you to presume that a person from the back row does not speak English? Did you speak to this person? How did you arrive at that conclusion.

    As a former f.a. & an oft traveler, I have never encountered such a person. People like me have little tolerance for the intolerant and you punctuated this otherwise great show of respect to one of our own with your personal bigoted comment. Bev of Boston, MA

    • Shelley Chase says:

      Bev, Get a life. Nobody cares what you have to say. Pretty pathetic that you have to come on here and make unnecessary comments. You are showing your bigoted self, nobody thought this, but you. Because of these patriots, you are able to throw your trash mouth out on the internet. God Bless them all!

  85. of course, it is a tragedy to lose somebody in war, young, old, ally or non-ally. but did you every once pause to think how many lives have been destroyed and ended tragically thanks to US soldiers in everywhere from iraq, afghanistan, vietnam, to name a few. and do they get an aircraft transfer, a water cannon salute, a big funeral?! no, instead they are left and forgotten, just like every other person killed on “the other side”. i think the american people need to take their heads out of their a**es and wake the hell up, if our government weren’t sending these young poor people to take part in battle then there would not be any flights like this, any fallen soldiers and so on. how many lives has the US destroyed in this war?! how many has it ended?! so this is just paying the price, and i hope it all comes back triple, not to soldiers or the public, but to all of the politicians responsible for this mess. shame on them.
    – a concerned US citizen

    • So, Steven, do you think when we send troops into another country they just kill everyone they see? Our military does not indiscriminately kill people. People die because they are trying to kill us. The rules of engagement were so strict that a soldier could ask to return fire only after bullets were hitting the vehicle. Do you know how many Vietnamese were killed AFTER we left? Millions. How about in Iraq? About 1000 a month. How many did Stalin or Mao kill? Are you happy that we didn’t intervene? Should we had let Hitler have his way? You do not stop evil by ignoring it or negotiating with it. The only way to stop it is to kill it. Be thankful that we have men and women like this fallen hero who are willing to do what you aren’t capable of doing.

    • Shelley Chase says:

      So, what about all our citizens killed on 9/11? Are we to just sit back and let them come into our great country and kill us? Thank God for all our brave men and women that volunteer to fight our battles. I do believe it is time for all of them to come home, but we ar not the “killing machine” here, just protecting our own. Better on their land, then ours.

    • steven says:
      November 1, 2013 at 10:24 am “of course, it is a tragedy to lose somebody in war, young, old, ally or non-ally. but did you every once pause to think how many lives have been destroyed and ended tragically thanks to US soldiers in everywhere from iraq, afghanistan, vietnam, to name a few. and do they get an aircraft transfer, a water cannon salute, a big funeral?! no, instead they are left and forgotten, just like every other person killed on “the other side”. i think the american people need to take their heads out of their a**es and wake the hell up, if our government weren’t sending these young poor people to take part in battle then there would not be any flights like this, any fallen soldiers and so on. how many lives has the US destroyed in this war?! how many has it ended?! so this is just paying the price, and i hope it all comes back triple, not to soldiers or the public, but to all of the politicians responsible for this mess. shame on them.
      – a concerned US citizen

      Steven, You focus is off target. “….thanks to US soldiers….” Currently, it is thanks to Obama. Quit making the soldiers scape goats to these situations. This drums up anger, animosity and hatred toward our military which has been shown so strongly during the “Shutdown” where politicians feel that they can do anything harmful to the military and get away with it because the people call the military, killers. That is what the Politicos want you to do which is protecting the Presidents. You need to thank Obama for the last five years, and the other Presidents…. Obama is the current and sole individual responsible for MAKING ALL OF THE DECISIONS, the deaths of the military, and others. It is he and he alone who is responsible for all of those deaths, not the military! You also have never seen the funerals for those martyrs, they are well attended and given a salute!

  86. I’m former military and have had to do this several times for some of my best friends. To see the person’s mother touch the box carrying her child home to her to bury truly is crushing. The hardest thing in the world to do is to hand her the flag off her child’s casket, salute her, thank her for her child…then turn and walk away. That said, I thank G-d every day that that is something that never gets easier to do.

  87. I got a lump in my thought just reading it. You truly have a way with words to make us feel we were there too.

  88. I was deployed to Baghram Afghanistan in 2008. Baghram is the central processing base for all fallen soldiers in Afghanistan. While I was there, many fallen soldiers came through there and then were flown home. Whenever the soldier was to be transported out to the aircraft, everyone on the base would line the streets the entire path and render a salute as the soldier was driven past them. Once out at the aircraft, there was a very somber ceremony that took place as the casket was loaded into the aircraft. I was honored to be standing there to pay respects, and even more so when I was allowed to be a part of the loading ceremony a few times. This ceremony and lining the streets happened every single time a fallen soldier was leaving Afghanistan, no matter what time the flight was to depart. 3 in the morning had just as many military members lining the street as 3 in the afternoon did. It was an honor regardless of the time. hated to see them go, but loved the way we said goodbye.

  89. and do you have any idea how many more lives our actions have saved?

  90. Unfortunately there are many who wont even bother to read this piece and continue to bad mouth our military! I for one thank you for the reminder and especially to our many brave heros who walk the line to keep us safe and free!

  91. It is very special to see this kind of respect given to our fallen warriors. These powerful images and words convey a moment to most, and a lifetime to the affected families and friends. This type of a welcoming is the very least a greatful nation can do for those who protect it. Rest in piece in the presence of the Lord , you are now home…

  92. Amy Leasure says:

    The transfer was done with excellent grace and dignity that our beloved warriors deserve. To the family who let us see this, thank you and you are in my prayers. Your loved one left this world protecting every American and I for one, am very thankful and deeply respectful. I feel your saddness and I hope one day the pain is not so great. Thank you.

  93. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing, truly made me tear up.

  94. LT Gernt, Nicholas A. says:

    As an Army Officer, I appreciate the gratitude and respect you have shown to our nations fallen. You, sir, are the reason we continue to fight for this great nation. We are the land of the free because of the brave. Pro Patria.

  95. Anonymous says:

    When you see things like this, it reminds you of what military men and women do for our country. Few even think of this, and even fewer show the respect due to them. I salute all military men and women protecting our country and thank you so much for sharing this. It touched my heart.

  96. “As soon as I saw her reach out to put her hand on her baby’s casket, I walked away.”

    Bawling my eyes out at this line. Nothing worst than outliving your child.

  97. Anonymous says:

    I am ex military. it breaks my heart every time I hear or read a story like this. They deserve every honor that we can bestow upon them

  98. I read your article in the NYDN today. Very moving and emotional. I’m a daughter of a fallen soldier whose return was likewise in the same manner as this soldier. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt ‘moment in time’ experience as a passenger aboard a flight with one of our bravest! Tacy

  99. A. Brazell says:

    I am a mother of a soldier currently serving in Afghanistan. This deeply touched my heart and soul. Thank you to each of you on that plane for your respect and heartfelt consideration for this fallen soldier and his family by blood and in arms. I am sure none who boarded that plane intended to be a part of such a sad and final journey. God speed soldier!

  100. I am glad the tide of respect has turned. My 93 year old dad had on his Cap from the Louisville, his Navy ship, and a young lady came up to him in a parking lot and hugged him and thanked him for his service. He was dumbfounded. When I was in college, people spit on soldiers returning from Viet Nam, my peers. God bless our service men and women.

  101. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Your writing transported me into that airline, seeing and experiencing the story unfold. Awesome writing. Salutes to all our heroes without whom today will not be the same.

  102. george parrott says:

    This broke my heart.

  103. Anonymous says:

    You read a story such as this and without question, it manages to touch your heart. You experience these words that are written as if you are actually there, seeing this solemn act unfold in front of you. You feel the pride of the escort and carry the weight of the task that they are given and you experience the pain that the family must feel as they see their son or daughter arrive home. The pain that the family feels is one that we, at that same moment, feel and we tend to look at life in a different way once you see this. I salute you fallen soldier, I thank you for your service and ultimate sacrifice. May you rest in peace and find glory in the kingdom of God.

  104. Touching story. Thank you for sharing. This is as close to war most of us get. This experience should be the lede on national news. My sympathies to the family, and heartfelt gratitude to the brave soldier.

  105. MIC propaganda.

  106. Incredible story, and so powerfully written. I can’t even imagine the feelings the family must have been having. Thanks for sharing this.

  107. Earlier this year, I was one of the people watching out the window of the Cleveland airport as the honor guard escorted a fallen soldier off a plane. I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes then same as when I read JohnnyJet’s message.

  108. You told a beautiful story, one that should move most of us to tears and to be proud of what our country stands for…it is a pity that your comments about “Foreigners” pretending they don’t understand English took away what you were doing. Racism and Bigotry is one of the many things we should not tolerate…many have died fighting it.

    • Johnny Jet Johnny Jet says:

      THanks for the comments but I never said the word “Foreigners”.

    • mommommary says:

      what would have preferred? Boyz from da hood? maybe the little old lady with the cane and hearing aides? Perhaps you’ve never been in the situation where a foreign national didn’t understand our language and gets up to leave or push ahead in a line, even when the most patient person would try to explain what was asked. Get a grip on reality and quit trying to be so politically correct.

  109. Kathie Pickell says:

    On Saturday, October 26, I flew out of our small local airport to Phoenix. This flight was special in that it carried our local WWII veterans to Phoenix for a special meeting. They were recognized with clapping from the passengers.

  110. I don’t want to be the skunk in the room but there is an Awful Reality that Nobody seems to want to address and admit. NONE of these Soldiers had to die or be maimed. Can anybody say what Iraq was for and what did all this sacrifice of lives and limbs get us. Afghanistan is the same. Check out my Song “A KNOCK AT THE DOOR”….As a Country we HAVE to confront this awful truth.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZU5Lne1nwpQ

    Barry David Butler
    Contact me at bdbutler@centurylink.net

    • If you don’t want to be a skunk in the room, don’t be a skunk in the room.

      Your first sentence is like me saying, “I don’t want to be rude, but have you absolutely no memory of 9-11? That doesn’t ring any bells about why we went to war in Afghanistan?”

      • The problem with your response being that the poor soldier on that plane was killed more than a decade after 911 and long after Bin Laden and Al Qaeda’s departure to bigger and better killing fields elsewhere. In any case we don’t know where that soldier was killed. Given the sheer number of places we’re at war it could have been in any of a half dozen countries – only one of which has even the slightest connection to 911. Be honest. The only reason we’re still killing and dying in Afghanistan is that our politicians can’t figure out how to finally get us out of that quagmire without risking their careers. THAT is why an awful lot of Afghans and Americans have died and why the butchery continues. Its long since become a pointless exercise in slaughter.

  111. A truly touching story. Thank you for sharing.

  112. Janie Seymour says:

    Please remember, when you’re traveling and you encounter a member of the military, please say thanks in some manner. When my son was serving, he had people pay for meals, etc. in the airport. They do appreciate being acknowledged by the public.

  113. Jane Smith says:

    This is so moving…thank you for sharing your experience. Hope our brave one will rest in peace.

  114. Anonymous says:

    THANK YOU!!

  115. As the wife of a Marine and Mother of three Marines, simply, thank you. When my husband returned from Vietnam, the scenes were 180 degree different. I cannot thank you enough for sharing your story on line and I viewed your pictures on Fox. It not only brought tears to my eyes but also my husband. These stories like this help Veterans from Vietnam and other conflicts, heal a lot of wounds no one sees. You have no idea how many people you have affected in a good way. Thank you. My prayers to our military and their families. Their families have to bravely carry on.

  116. Johnny, Thank you so much for posting this event. It “hurt my heart” to know a young person died to preserve OUR safety & made me feel so humble. I am the daughter of WWII POW & Purple Heart Recipient (now deceased) & the mother of a current U.S. Navy Special
    Forces member. Daddy came home from WWII, married & I was borne in 1946. Through the years I have been to MANY of Daddy’s friends/fellow veterans funeral services & ALWAYS hurt to my core but also know they will rest in peace knowing they did all they could for our country. As for my son, Thank our Lord God, he has returned home from several tours of Iraq/Afghanistan to continue to be a Daddy himself. In my opinion, we CANNOT DO ENOUGH FOR OUR VETERANS! I thank you for your post, reminding us our of ability to live in the most wonderful country in the world.

  117. Thank you for sharing this experience with us. There is no greater love… than to give your life.. for other people. I will always respect our heros and be forever grateful!!!

  118. This brought tears to my eyes, and although I am a big supporter of our soldiers, who do fight for our freedom each day, I am wondering what did this soldier die for? Why are we still in the Middle East? The Afghans and the Iraqis don’t want us in their country, but we are still there losing our men and women, and breaking the hearts of mothers and father and brother and sisters here at home. When soldiers came home from WWII, we knew what they were fighting for…now, that resolve is blurred. It’s time that we bring our soldiers home.

  119. Anonymous says:

    My son returned from 6 months in Afghanistan last week. My heart breaks for this mother. Our sons and daughters are still on harms way…please keep them in your prayers.

  120. janet Martine says:

    So much to be thankful for. Thank you for sharing

  121. I too experienced this on a Delta flight from ATL to Pensacola,Fl. Passengers were asked to remained seated until the soldier’s casket was removed from the plane. So sad that several passengers seated in first class stood and walked off the plane why the ceremony was in progress. So many seem ungrateful for the freedom they do not deserve.

  122. I had the honor of being the Captain on an escort flight about two years ago. It was probably the most emotional moment in my flying life.

    I blogged about it here:
    http://capnaux.blogspot.com/2012/07/interlude-flying-fallen-hero.html

  123. Nancy Reid says:

    I never miss an opportunity to remind folks to remember our troop and support them everyday to help boost their morale. Follow @fso_USAsoldiers They send care packages to our soldiers serving abroad.

  124. People who want to know more about the honor given to fallen soldiers should watch the movie “Taking Chance” with Kevin Bacon. It follows a fallen marine from when he falls to his home and what happens along the way

    • That is exactly what I wanted to share. “Taking Chance” was the most heart rending account of a fallen Marine being escorted home to his family. The true story of a young man who was loved, died far from home & will be missed forever by everyone who knew him!

      • mommommary says:

        I own that movie “Taking Chance”. It’s right where I can see it whenever I look at the DVD collection. I’ve watched it so many times that I can’t count them. And each and every time, I get choked up, cry hysterically and can’t speak after the movie. My husband of 40 years was there for Desert Shield/Desert Storm while I was pregnant with our son. I told him before he was deployed that if they came to my door with news, that I would demand to see for myself. I know now that that statement was selfish, but I was scared, pregnant and had a 15 year old daughter at home who attended childbirth classes with me ‘just in case’. Luckily, no one came to the door, he came home 36 hours before our son was born and I had both my husband and daughter with me in Labor & Delivery. But back to “Taking Chance” – a movie deserving a place on everyone’s shelf and not to collect dust. Very well portrayed. My favorite part – when the officer escorting Chance (played by Kevin Bacon) asked the young driver why he was driving Chance to the airport – the driver’s response “it’s what I can do to honor these men” or something to that effect.

  125. I don’t have many words to say, except “thank you.” Thank you for sharing your experience with us and letting us share in being reminding how truly grateful and thankful we should be to our men and women of the UNITED STATES MILITARY FORCES!

  126. Thank you for sharing this. It needed to be seen by more than just those present, and you did that beautifully and honorably.

    Proud Navy veteran, and wife of USMC veteran

  127. What an honor! thanks for sharing!

  128. I don’t really know who you are, but I saw your piece on FoxNews via a link on my FB, and glad I did. I felt you were so very sincere and real, which is a rare find in our day. Thanks for you work here. I can’t ever afford to fly, but if I did I would consult your site for this reason alone. Thanks again

  129. carrita campbell says:

    this was a stunning tribute to our troops and brought tears to my eyes as well. god bless all who serve and protect us.

  130. Matthew S. Harrison says:

    John- thank you for telling this story. You were right on the fox interview-too many of our countrymen don’t appreciate our military and the sacrifice they make. They daily sacrifices of our men/women in uniform are far greater than most even understand. The training is extremely dangerous-the hours suck-the time away from family attacks us from the inside out, and the pay is less than that at a McDonalds for many of our military. Therefore, it is important to understand-for the masses-it is not a job, but a calling. Those who answer it deserve our deepest gratitude and admiration. Anyone who doesn’t get it, doesn’t deserve the god-given rights they have when they are born, or emigrate to The United States of America. This is poignant stuff-and a lesson that many Americans need to learn. Thank you for helping teach them! God bless you. Matthew S. Harrison

  131. Gordy Toomey says:

    Isnt it a shame that our govt. is spending the lives of our precious sons and daughters in a war such as Afganistan. We need such people in our society now at home with their courage and principles and honor. I am so glad people appreciate the sacrifice of the fallen, but bring home all their brothers and sisters now.

  132. Melissa Ortiz says:

    Heart rending. Thank you for sharing.

  133. Silent Hero’s
    November 11th will soon be here to remember our Freedom
    Fighters and especially those who have fallen serving our
    homeland. With honor we will give special recognition.
    However, many do not know about those who silently serve
    our country but will not receive any recognition. Over the
    years they have and still serve as special agents within the
    different branches of military and Government . They have
    served our country at great personal risk since 1775. To
    this day they are dispatched into the foreign populations to
    infiltrate enemy war zones. They gather acute and covert
    intelligence. Sometime they receive special recognition such
    as the Thomas W. McKnowlton Intelligence Award. Yet we
    may never know about it because that award is restricted to
    those within our intelligence services. Today I want to beam
    some light in general to let these very special patriots know
    that we honor their service and we give thanks to God to each
    for their silent sacrifice and love of country.

  134. Donald Skipper says:

    First time I ever cried thank you for posting this Fallen Soldier on My Delta Flight -Johnny Jet I was in Dessert Strom saw mini come home,but this one is the best.

  135. Served in Nam in ’68 & 69, saw a lot of caskets during Tet, you never forget. I’m 68 years old now and it seems like yesterday, I’d do it again in a heart beat. My father and two of brothers served in WWII this is a great country despite the politicians. GOD BLESS AMERICA

    • You’d invade, occupy and slaughter the citizens of a country 10,000 miles away that never threatened to the United States, never attacked the United States and only ever sought their independence from colonialism — again? And all because some hack politician that couldn’t even spell Vietnam told you to? What could be more unAmerican than that? That’s just sick and evil.

  136. This reaffirms my dedication to OUR America. With all the insanity ruling our lives from the district of corruption, I still feel we have a chance to right things IF we work together. God bless ALL of our military and their devotion to our republic.

  137. Johnny, I like so many other Soldiers have been there to receive a fallen Soldier when he/she comes off of the plane. Thank you for paying tribute to those that have fallen and noting that everyone on the plane did in their own way pay their respects, even if it was just allowing the Soldiers get off to receive the fallen.

    I would also like to say thank you very much for NOT showing the family coming up to the plane. That is a sad solemn moment that is meant ONLY for the family, and I am sure they would not have wanted to have been put on a website. Thank you again for respecting the family and the fallen Soldier!

    SSG Paul M.
    U.S. Army

  138. Thank you. The most important story well told.

  139. Anonymous says:

    I had a similar experience on a flight from Atlanta to Pensacola, FL. After we landed but before we reached the gate the pilot announced the presence of the military escort on board. The plane went silent and nobody moved from their seats. We all watched out the windows as the flag draped coffin was attended to by military and ground crews. No words were spoken until the coffin had been placed in the waiting hearse and the hearse was escorted from the tarmac. As a mom to an Army soldier myself the tears were flowing freely as I thought about the family waiting for this soldier. There but for the grace of God go I.

  140. Anonymous says:

    I am very grateful that this story was posted, so thank you for that. I do have a suggestion, however … I think you should have avoided saying that “most” Americans don’t appreciate what our soldiers do. I thought that making that statement on broadcast news was totally rude and an unnecessary politically slanted comment at a time when politics should have NEVER entered the moment. Maybe few have experienced the way fallen soldiers are escorted and don’t fully appreciate that kind of experience, but I’d venture to say that MOST Americans — even those who would express anti-war sentiments — still appreciate how our young men and women put their lives on the line for us. The reactionary of our culture seem to really enjoy exasperating situations and glorify ignorance, but that doesn’t hide the fact that the vast majority of people who would express anti-war opinions, are expressing them at the political machinery that makes wars, not so much those who just follow orders they have no control over. And pleeeezzzzze … those of you who want to do ‘neener, neener’ 6th grader comments about ‘if you don’t like it here, go somewhere else’ … expressing ideas that can lead to a better America is ONE of the most patriotic acts an intelligent country/culture-loving American can do. We love it here, but we are NOT stupid to think that NO improvements could be made.

  141. I have been privileged to serve as honor guard for returning Marines as well as providing honors at the funerals. It is moving every time, it is hard every time, it is an honor every time.
    Semper Fi.

  142. Tracy Watzek says:

    This is not the time for political BS. This is strictly a time to mourn loss of life and for the family of the fallen. Thank you, Johnny Jet, for an amazing story that has truly touched me. Wow.

  143. William F. Cook says:

    We take for granted our Freedom and Liberty, which is paid for at a dear price.

  144. This friend and relative of many veterans and former emergency responder was thoroughly gutted. And I’d wept with gold star parents as well as over my own fallen brothers.

  145. Thank you to Johnny for sharing this experience and thank you to Theron for your comments. As a mother of a 3-tour (so far) veteran, one of my heartaches is that it seems that everyone else is going on “as normal”, forgetting the sacrifices that military members and their families are experiencing. I appreciate it when someone reminds the world that it is not life as normal for everyone.

  146. The biggest heroes are those who died in combat.
    .

  147. Amber Brown says:

    Thank you for sharing such a moving moment, it would be such an honor to have been a part of someing so honorable!! My tears & gratitude moved me so much!! I re~posted this story on all social media forums to share with all my loved ones…
    We are so lucky in this country to have such brave men & women who serve & fight to protect all of us & our freedom!!! With LOVE & PRAYERS to all of our military & their families who sacrifice all for our great Country!!! May GOD BLESS EACH & EVERYONE OF YOU (past & present) I salute you!!

  148. I didn’t look at this story at first because I thought I had seen it before and didn’t want to face the tears again. However, I finally decided I should. Having served myself I fully understand how important our military is to (the United States and everyone who lives here) our freedom. I cannot listen to Taps without being brought to tears and being married to a Vietnam Veteran and knowing how he was treated when he came home, I am humbled by the show of respect from the people on this flight, whether they agreed with the decisions of our leaders or not.

    Many thanks for sharing this story.

    • The horrible truth is that poor soldier didn’t die protecting American “freedom” he or she died defending American hubris and the interests of cynical politicians. And untold thousands of innocents in countries throughout the world died too. It was an unnecessary, easily avoidable death and it won’t be the last

  149. Anonymous says:

    Very moved and touched that amidst all the turmoil , we still are a country that honors are fallen sons and daughters. God bless you all

  150. I listened to this story on NPR’s “Hear & Now” last evening. Johnny’s account is very powerful, much more so than this blog account. His description of the scene etches into your mind. Well done and thank you.

  151. Jonny,
    I first heard about this story from my wife. A friend of hers posted a link to an interview you did on the news and we sat down to watch it together.
    It wasn’t long before both of us were moved to tears, like many others, by the experience you had. These feelings were enhanced for the two of us because of our past…
    Back in 2007 I joined the Air Force and my job was to work with Army ground units on the front lines. In January of 2010 I was on a foot patrol in Afghanistan with my teammate and 11 soldiers from Fort Carson in Colorado. We approached a small village and were ambushed by insurgents. I was injured in the first of two roadside bomb blasts and was left permanently blind. The ambush claimed the lives of my teammate Brad and three of the soldiers we had been working with almost every day.
    I woke up in a hospital in Washington DC to learn that four of my friends weren’t coming home. It was, and still is, the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with in my life.
    Months down the road during my recovery I was fortunate enough to meet the wives of three of those men. The meeting was emotional to say the least. I learned that God works in mysterious ways though because one of those widows had an effect on me that changed my life forever.
    We have been married now for more than three years and have a beautiful little family. Would you believe that blind people can experience love at first “sight” too? I didn’t think it was possible!
    When we sat down and read this story it struck a very emotional nerve with us. My wife has experience that very same situation that you witnessed and I have buried friends. We both want to show our appreciation to you for sharing this story with the world. It’s hard to truly appreciate the sacrifices that our military members make every day when they happen across the world and seem so far away. Thank you for giving so many the chance to experience a taste of what real sacrifice means.
    Thank you again for sharing this humbling story.
    God bless.

  152. Anonymous says:

    What a moving story! It also brought tears to my eyes. I am not American, but I live in a free world thanks to the sacrifices of so many, including your military. I was once waiting to board a plane in Houston, and at ckeck-in, an American Airlines assistant asked for a round of applause for a group of soldiers returning home. I must tell you I joined in the applause, and I will always remember the emotion. Also my grandfather was a WWI vet, and I feel your article honors him too on this date so close to your Veterans’ Day or Europe’s Armistice Day.

  153. I am happy to hear the respect the military escort pays to the fallen, and how well the citizens of this country pay their respects as well. We owe these sons and daughter far more than they receive, but they never seem to ask for more. Amen to the respectful sentiments.

  154. Thank you for shearing this, I have been with my Army sister on the outside if the plan as her husband was brought home yo us on the sad day of Dec.12.2010 and it was nice to read this Ihad no idea what went on inside as he was coming off the plan. It is very nice to read this and know people stop for that moment and did not rush off. Thank you

  155. What a profoundly moving piece, a wonderful end to a very sad story. Thank you for sharing.

  156. We are a proud nation and should not forget about the lives that were lost or the parent or spouses who supported them. Thank you for sharing this touching story with us. Please check out this website that honors the fallen Service members.

    http://codedplaque.com/MilitaryTribute/IraqMilitary

    http://www.gofundme.com/54f9p0

  157. Thank you for this. I was on a flight recently to Salt Lake City. About 15 minutes out, the captain came on to announce that the parents of a fallen soldier were on the flight and were coming to claim their son. The couple, sitting directly behind me, had been just ordinary passengers up until that time. Upon landing the entire plane stood, applauded and respectfully waited for them to deplane. It was so little we could do for those who do so much.

  158. A tearful Welcome Home Brother. Condolences for his family, our Nation and the Brothers and Sisters always dread the news of this. RIP Brother.
    USN 69-73 Nam Gator Navy 72-73 and I saw body bags from the USS New Port News after she blew a turret killling 19 sailors, being transported on CH-46s as they landed upon our flight deck. It’s not the way to go home, be careful and may God be with you.

  159. Fallen Soldier on My Delta Flight
    I have just finished reading Fallen Soldier on my Delta Flight.
    Very moving,while reading this tears are running down my face.
    I for one appreciate what serviceman/woman that protect our countries.
    I’m from the UK and when you see the serviceman returning home for the last time from RAF Brize Norton, it is truely heart breaking.
    It’s truely amazing seeing the people of Wootton Basset, England making an honour guard and saluting them. God Bless American and British forces.

  160. Proud American says:

    We just had this same situation on our flight from Honolulu to Atlanta on Saturday. We had two fallen heroes on our flight. I did not take any photos because I personally didn’t want to intrude on this solemn moment but you did it in a very respectful way. I just could not imagine the pain and sorrow of their family meeting their loved ones at the airport in this way. It breaks the heart.

  161. Anonymous says:

    What a moving story. I’m a veteran myself have travelled on military plane with a casket some 38 yrs ago but did not have the same affect back then….I had cried from the beginning to the end reading your story…May God bless those have served and protect those are serving our country. For the family of the fallen soldier,God Bless You and God Bless America.

  162. Don’t be too quick to make judgment, just transferred a fellow soldier off of a Delta Aircraft and they loaded the plane with the casket first. Airport personal on ground were crying digging out all the luggage and throwing it on the ground trying to get to our brother as quickly as possible. Even heard the man in charge say he was ashamed because the family was on the TARMAT waiting for us to go retrieve his casket. Casket goes on last as to come out first ;\ He deserved better.# pissed off Honor Guard.

  163. Johnny Jet Johnny Jet says:

    That is terrible. What flight #?

Trackbacks

  1. […] I just read this article today. My sinuses have suddenly gone crazy. Eyes won't stop watering. Fallen Soldier on My Delta Flight – Johnny Jet God Bless Our Troops. "But a Constitution of Government once changed from […]

  2. […] The uneventful trip was interrupted about 40 minutes before hitting the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport when the pilot announced that the uniformed soldiers on board were part of the escort, John E. DiScala wrote on his travel site JohnnyJet.com. […]

  3. […] writer for the travel blog Johnny Jet took one flight he won’t soon forget. While on Delta Flight 2255 from Atlanta to Los Angeles […]

  4. […] Read more: http://www.johnnyjet.com/2013/10/fallen-soldier-on-my-delta-flight/#ixzz2jQA86AHs […]

  5. […] He explained that there was a military escort on-board and asked that everyone remain seated so the soldiers could get off first, DiScala wrote on his website. […]

  6. […] 3. He explained that there was a military escort on-board and asked that everyone remain seated so the soldiers could get off first, DiScala wrote on his website. […]

  7. […] The uneventful trip was interrupted about 40 minutes before hitting the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport when the pilot announced that the uniformed soldiers on board were part of the escort, John E. DiScala wrote on his travel site JohnnyJet.com. […]

  8. […] Delta Flight 2255 from Atlanta to Los Angeles seemed to be an ordinary flight but it turned out to be everything but ordinary. When the somber captain got on the PA system about 45 minutes prior to landing to inform us we were transporting a fallen soldier the whole plane fell silent. Here’s my video and story http://www.johnnyjet.com/2013/10/fall… […]

  9. […] even running-related). This is a week or so early for Veteran’s Day, but check it out anyway: http://www.johnnyjet.com/2013/10/fallen-soldier-on-my-delta-flight/   80 days until the […]

  10. […] information, including deals, insider ways to save money, and more via his blog JohnnyJet.com. Johnny’s latest story about his flight which brought home a fallen solder to Los Angeles  reminded us to once again to say Thank You to our brave men and women of our U.S. military, and […]

  11. […] this story made reminded me that my problems are completely […]

  12. […] that everyone remain seated for a couple of minutes so the soldiers could get off first,” wrote travel expert John DiScala (better known as Johnny Jet) who was on the flight. “He also warned us not to be alarmed if we see fire trucks since Los […]

  13. […] a lot about supporting our military both on the ground and back home, including last week’s my story on a moving event featuring a fallen soldier on my Delta flight last week, How American Airlines Treats our Military and Giving Your Upgrade to a Soldier. On Monday and […]

  14. […] Fallen Soldier on My Delta Flight – Johnny Jet. […]

  15. […] EXTRA: Via Johnny Jet, a moving story about an honor flight to LAX […]

  16. […] are small reminders of someone’s sacrifice for me. Two weeks ago, famous travel writer Johnny Jet, wrote a wonderful article about his Delta flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles. His flight carried a […]

  17. […] DiScala, whose early life as a college recruiter showed him the travel ropes, runs the successful JohnnyJet website, the forum he used to tell the story of that special journey. […]

  18. […] I couldn’t help but think how different this was for the older guys in the group. We didn’t recognize veterans much less celebrate Veteran’s Day like this when I was growing up. When I was my 2nd grader’s age, the US was still firmly embroiled in the Viet Nam War.  Soldiers and Marines in the late 1960′s and early 70′s were rotating in and out of country on a steady basis much like they are today, but none of them received standing ovations at airport terminals. Caskets came back from that war by the thousands but few people went out of their way to acknowledge them or pay their respects. What a wonderful difference it is now when travelers and airline staff pause from their busy day to welcome a fallen soldier home. […]

  19. […] Click here to read the full post at Johnny Jet – The Travel Insider. Abled, Abled.com, AbledWarriors, Delta Flight 2255, Escorts of the Heart, fallen serviceman, Fallen Soldier On My Delta Flight, Honor Guard, JohnnyJet.com (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_EN/all.js#xfbml=1&appId=facebook@Abled.com"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); […]

  20. […] control modernization hits turbulence Injured British Soldier trains to become commercial pilot Fallen Soldier on my Delta Flight Dr. Haig Mardirosian (get some links) TWA 800 Documentary on NetFlix MD-83 struck wing after […]

  21. […] is a beautiful story of our fallen soldiers. May we always remember their […]

  22. […] week proved to be an emotional exception, as the account from travel blog Johnny Jet (check it out here) proves. Basically, everyone on the plane reacted with solemn respect when informed that they were […]

  23. […] But my most significant flight in October was flying back to L.A. and learning that there was a fallen soldier on my flight. I went home and wrote a story and posted a short video about this incredibly emotional and moving […]

  24. […] 14. @JohnnyJet That’s right – I’m adding myself to this list because I think I do a pretty darned good job sharing relevant travel information on Twitter – but I’ll let you be the judge! I work hard to find great deals like last week’s fare from NYC to Europe for $345 round-trip (including all taxes). I also share breaking travel news and helpful tips to make travel smoother and more enjoyable. I flew 97 times in 2013 and traveled to 17 countries and 15 states – not bad for someone who used to be afraid to fly! Two of my tweets even made national headlines in 2013. One was about American Airlines’ new boarding procedure and the other was my story about flying with a fallen soldier onboard my flight. […]

  25. […] recently became a big fan of Delta Air Lines after I witnessed firsthand how they treat our military and how they do a nice job giving free upgrades to their frequent fliers … though they still […]

  26. […] Facebook page offers a link and some advice to the soldiers in the photo with the coffin: “They should read this.” It’s a gripping account of what it was like for passengers on a Delta flight to find […]

  27. […] by airline passengers this past October, when a hero was transported back to his family on a Delta Airlines flight from Atlanta to Los […]

  28. Sandpaper says:

    Sandpaper

    Fallen Soldier on My Delta Flight – Johnny Jet

  29. […] was such a special flight (I actually cried while writing about it), and I had no idea that the story and video were going to strike a chord with so many people. I’ve received literally thousands of […]

  30. […] photo above comes from the post I wrote after my experience on a moving and powerful Delta flight that brought home a fallen […]

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