Yesterday on our Delta Airlines flight from San Antonio to Atlanta, we experienced something I had only read about Our flight carried a Fallen Soldier and his Escort.
I’ll start from the beginning. While we sat at the gate, waiting to depart San Antonio through several announcements of delays, and assurances that we should arrive in Atlanta at least 30 minutes before our connecting flight. I noticed a tall, nice-looking Marine officer in full dress uniform also in the waiting area.
Finally our plane arrived in San Antonio for what everyone hoped would be a quick loading of passengers and turnaround flight to Atlanta. About 30 minutes out of Atlanta, the head flight attendant announced our flight was carrying a Fallen Soldier and his Escort. She asked for everyone to remain seated upon arrival so the escort could be the first to depart the plane. She said she would repeat the announcement one more time. I quickly realized the “Escort” was the Marine officer.
As we taxied into the airport, the usual announcements were made, then the reminder announcement to allow the fallen soldier’s escort to depart first. The passengers went totally quiet. The Marine officer stood and gathered his belongings As he walked up the aisle from the back of the plane, he was greeted with applause.
On our side of the plane, we watched a Delta Airlines cargo-type vehicle painted in patriotic colors approached the plane. A color guard of what appeared to be veterans and/or baggage handlers (casually dressed) carrying the American Flag and other flags, stood at the cargo doors as the fallen soldier’s flag-covered casket was unloaded from the plane onto the special vehicle.
Because we only had 30 minutes to make our connecting flight to Lexington several terminals away, we were not able to stay and watch the entire ceremony. Today I Googled “Delta Airlines Fallen Soldiers” and found several videos and photos of similar ceremonies. I learned that Delta Airlines has an Honor Guard Service for this purpose. I appreciate the way Delta Airlines honors our nation’s Fallen Soldiers by providing this ceremony.
Our family was honored to "help" escort this Fallen Soldier on the flight from San Antonio to Atlanta.