Anyone can tell you that flying on a holiday can be extremely stressful. Dealing with increased traffic, finding parking, checking in luggage, airport security, flight delays, cancellations, and the sheer number of people can put anyone on edge by the time the board their flight.
For American Airline passenger David Darrow, who was flying during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, he started off his trip in an admittedly foul mood. But Darrow soon ended up in tears after an eye-opening experience he’ll remember for the rest of his life.
Darrow explained the details of his experience on Facebook, noting how frustrated he was upon boarding the flight with his family.
“Yesterday I took a 10:00am 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),” Darrow wrote.
Soon the pilot made an announcement over the loudspeaker asking every passenger to observe a brief moment of silence, which only further annoyed Darrow.
“I thought ‘Now what? And I got even more angry because I was going to miss my connection,’” he wrote. “And then this happened.”
But then Darrow quickly realized why the pilot asked for a moment of silence and instantly shifted from being angry to feeling ashamed and humbled.
“This soldier, who died in Afghanistan! Was being flown home to North Carolina on our flight,” Darrow wrote.
Darrow posted a series of heartbreaking pictures that showed the airline crew loading a casket onto the plane. The casket was in the American flag along with the words “Handle With Extreme Care” attached to the side.
“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 there lives so I can eat hotdogs and drink beer and watch fireworks.”
Every passenger on the plane was moved with sadness, Darrow said, including the pilot who was a veteran himself, and had to make the somber announcement.
“The captain came out of the cockpit and address the passenger 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 wanted to share this because it 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,” he wrote.
During his own Fourth of July festivities, Darrow asked that his guests remember the anonymous soldier who died on America’s behalf.
“Please keep his family in your thoughts today,” Darrow concluded. “Because somewhere in North Carolina a family is burying there son, dad, brother, sisters and his mother are saying goodbye today.”
This is just an incredible story. We all should take a moment to remember the ultimate sacrifice millions of American soldiers have made on the battlefield to preserve our imperfect but noble republic.
God bless the troops.