Usually we stop and think about veterans on Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day but this week on a work trip to D.C. I was moved by something that happened on my flight.
The flight was boarding as usual and once I was seated and situated I looked out of the window to see a soldier holding a POW flag standing out on the tarmac. Beside him was a white military carriage with a flag on top and the emblems of all of the branches of service.
As one of the flight attendants passed by I stopped her and asked why there was a soldier on the tarmac and she confirmed that we were transporting the remains of a soldier.
Nothing was mentioned as the flight attendants hustled about trying to get passengers seated and carry-on items placed in the overhead storage. I was bothered that something deserving respect or a moment of quiet reflection was taking place and yet no one seemed to stop to notice.The flight took off and it was a normal flight until we landed. Just after we touched down the pilot made an announcement, naming the soldier and letting us know that we were in fact delivering the fallen to his final resting place. He went on to announce the name and rank of the Marine who was on board with us accompanying the body. We were asked to remain seated once we arrived at our gate to allow the Marine to exit the plane first. You could've heard a pin drop. No one rushed, and in fact, no one moved. Quietly and solemnly the Marine, holding his hat, made the walk to the front of the aircraft and off the plane.
Even when he was out of sight, no one moved for a matter of seconds. Then someone began clapping and suddenly the plane was full of sound and emotion as all of us clapped for the fallen. No one was sure what to do but for a few minutes, a plane full of very busy people who were all in a hurry stopped to pay tribute to someone who gave his life for our country.