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Travel writer Johnny DiScala recently boarded Delta Flight 2255 from Atlanta to Los Angeles. It was an ordinary flight with the exception of a sweet flight attendant with Southern charm who took a moment to recognize the military on board.
But just before the flight landed, the pilot announced that the uniformed men on board were on duty, escorting a fallen soldier home. DiScala talks with Here & Now’s Robin Young about how the group of strangers slowed down to pay homage.
On the water cannon salute
“This one was completely different. Usually they’re all happy occasions. This one was extremely sad. Seeing the water drops roll down the window, you know, it looked like tears coming from heaven.”
On passengers’ reaction to the words from the honor guard (see video below)
“They just looked down, looked around, didn’t say a word. It was very moving, and then got even more emotional when we stepped off the plane. I was in the middle of the plane, and when I got off there was already a crowd from my flight just watching through the window, witnessing one of the saddest things you’ll ever see in your life, and that was watching the LAX baggage handlers and the Army military taking the flag-covered casket off the plane. I could see the family to the left; it looked like the mother or the wife and some younger kids with blankets draped over them. Right when I saw them, the mother or the wife walked slowly up to the casket and put her right hand right out and put it on it. My heart broke and I just walked away.”
On who the soldier was
“I have a pretty good idea who it is, but I actually kind of wrote it for all military. And now I’ve been getting messages from all kinds of veterans and parents saying thank you for writing this, you know, my son or daughter did not die in vain. It’s just not about one person, it’s about them all.”