Strangers silently gather at airport to honor remains of Texas vet missing since 1967

Travelers waiting to board their flights at a Dallas airport gathered in silence to honor a veteran finally returning home after 52 years.

Canadian journalist Jackson Proskow was waiting for his flight from El Paso to Washington, D.C., when a stunning announcement was made, he wrote in a Twitter post.

His inbound flight was carrying a very special passenger: the body of a Vietnam War veteran who’d been shot down in 1967.

According to his obituary, Colonel Roy Abner Knight, Jr was part of an attack on the Ho Chi Minh Trail when his plane was shot down. He was considered Missing in Action until 1974 when his status was changed to Killed in Action. His remains were discovered and identified in February of this year.

As the Southwest flight arrived, Proskow said the gate fell silent, posting photos of crowds of people standing near the window to watch Col. Knight, greeted with a water salute, return home.

The flight had been piloted by Col. Knight’s son.

“When he left from this very airport to fight in Vietnam his 5-year-old son came to the airfield and waved goodbye. It was the last time he would see his father alive,” Proskow wrote. “Today the pilot of the plane bringing [Col.] Knight back to Dallas is his son.”

Twitter users were touched by the scene.

“This here is suppose to be what America is all about,” one user wrote.

“This gave me goosebumps. My dad was shot down in 72 in Vietnam and they still haven’t found him. I’m so glad Captain Knight’s family got him back,” wrote another.

“I want to thank you for sharing this story. This IS who we are. We’ve lost the knowing of that in the midst of intentional division and need to be reminded from time to time that we’re #StrongerTogether and our spirit runs deep.”

Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune

Dawson covers goings-on across the central region, from breaking to bizarre. She is an MSt candidate at the University of Cambridge and lives in Kansas City.