The people of the United States have a high level of respect for the men and women who serve to defend the country as part of the military.There are entire rituals that are designed to honor and show respect for the fallen. This is what took place recently on a civilian flight heading back to Virginia.
#1 – A Less-than-ordinary flight
‘An airplane captain’s main priority is to keep his or her passengers safe. Captain Richard Rodriguez lived up to his responsibility when a flight attendant informed him a fallen American soldier was aboard the flight.
Upon that news, everything changed for the flight plan. This amazing story of kindness, comfort, care and love is so touching it will bring you to tears and impact your heart…this is the type of story we should never forget!’
#2 – The Captain’s Response…
‘Below is Captain Rodriguez’s post as he shares it with the world:
“My lead flight attendant came to me and said, ‘We have an H.R. on this flight.’ (H.R. stands for human remains.)
‘Are they military?’ I asked.
‘Yes,’ she said.
‘Is there an escort?’ I asked.
‘Yes, I’ve already assigned him a seat.’
‘Would you please tell him to come to the Flight Deck. You can board him early,’ I said…’
#3 – The Escort boards the plane
‘A short while later a young army sergeant entered the flight deck. He was the image of the perfectly dressed soldier. He introduced himself and I asked him about his soldier.
The escorts of these fallen soldiers talk about them as if they are still alive and still with us. ‘My soldier is on his way back to Virginia ,’ he said. He proceeded to answer my questions, but offered no words.
I asked him if there was anything I could do for him and he said no. I told him that he had the toughest job in the military, and that I appreciated the work that he does for the families of our fallen soldiers. The first officer and I got up out of our seats to shake his hand. He left the Flight Deck to find his seat.’
#4 – The Family Was on Board, Too
‘We completed our preflight checks, pushed back and performed an uneventful departure. About 30 minutes into our flight, I received a call from the lead flight attendant in the cabin.
‘I just found out the family of the soldier we are carrying, is also on board,’ she said. She then proceeded to tell me that the father, mother, wife and 2-year-old daughter were escorting their son, husband, and father home. The family was upset because they were unable to see the container that the soldier was in before we left.’
#5 – The flight crew wanted to accomadate the family’s wishes…
‘We were on our way to a major hub at which the family was going to wait four hours for the connecting flight home to Virginia. The father of the soldier told the flight attendant that knowing his son was below him in the cargo compartment and being unable to see him was too much for him and the family to bear. He had asked the flight attendant if there was anything that could be done to allow them to see him upon our arrival. The family wanted to be outside by the cargo door to watch the soldier being taken off the airplane.
I could hear the desperation in the flight attendants voice when she asked me if there was anything I could do. ‘I’m on it,’ I said. I told her that I would get back to her.’