A Southwest Airlines pilot whose father was killed in combat flew his dad’s remains home last week — to the same airport where he last saw him alive 52 years ago.
Southwest captain Bryan Knight‘s father, US Air Force Colonel Roy Knight, Jr., was shot down over Laos in 1967 during the Vietnam War.
“Colonel Knight ejected from his aircraft, but no parachute was seen deploying,” a Southwest Airlines representative explained. “A search was undertaken but could not find him.”
Colonel Knight was missing in action before being declared dead in 1974.
For over five decades, his remains went unrecovered — until this year.
Bryan Knight was five years old when he and his family took his father to Dallas Love Field (DAL), where his father left for war. It was the last time Bryan ever saw his dad alive.
Business Insider reports that Bryan began the process of repatriating his father’s remains once they had been confirmed. Colonel Knight’s remains were transported to Honolulu and then a Southwest flight to Oakland.
Bryan Knight coordinated with Southwest to ensure he was behind the controls to bring his dad home.
Last Thursday, Bryan captained Southwest flight 1220 from Oakland (OAK) to DAL — with his father’s remains in the cargo hold. It was at Dallas Love where he saw his father off before the fateful tour.
A water cannon salute, honor guard, and dozens of Southwest employees welcomed the flight.
Journalist Jackson Proskow was returning home to Washington, D.C. after covering the mass shooting in El Paso. (Talk about an emotional trip…)
“Airports rarely see moments of quiet — but for a few brief minutes, Dallas Love Field fell absolutely silent.
There were no garbled announcements, no clickity-clack of rolling suitcases over the tile floor, no shouting over cellphones.
People stood quietly at the window, wiping away tears, taking in a moment few rarely get to see.
It was peaceful, it was beautiful and it was a privilege to watch.”
Watch the video below, complete with salutes from air traffic control.
Colonel Knight was laid to rest Saturday.