“I took a 10:00 a.m. flight from Phoenix to Charlotte and it was the most emotionally draining flight I have ever taken. I have never cried so much for someone I did not know as I did yesterday. I boarded highly aggravated and angry. (If you fly all a lot, you’ll understand holiday travel: it’s absolutely madness).
I sat down in my seat and two minutes later, boarding was ceased by the captain and told to stop in our tracks and observe a moment of silence. I thought, ‘Now what? And I got even more angry because I was going to miss my connection’.
And then this happened…
This soldier, who died in Afghanistan, was being flown home to North Carolina on our flight. You see this is what the 4th July is about. This is why we are free to argue over a stupid athlete and a stupid pair of tennis shoes. It about a sacrifice of men and women who since 1776 have laid down their lives so I can eat hotdogs and drink beer and watch fireworks.
The captain came out of the cockpit to address the passengers in person. He was a guy who also served, and his four kids are currently serving, and he did not keep it together and we all cried. The entire flight I looked at the floor of the plane crying as I knew this fine gentleman is down there so I can sit here and eat dumb peanuts. I felt guilty and so sad. My problems seemed trivial. Here I was flying home to be with my family for the 4th. Here he was going to with his family to be buried on the 4th.
I wanted to share this because this is a 4th of July I will never forget. My problems melted away and I was so proud of America and American Airlines for showing so much respect.
Please keep his family in your thoughts today. Because somewhere in North Carolina a family is burying their son, dad, brother, sisters and his mother are saying goodbye today.”
This story was written by David Darrow. The article originally appeared here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.
Do you know someone who could benefit from this? SHARE this story on Facebook and Instagram