Roy Knight Jr. has come home.
It wasn’t the way he ever would have wanted. But he’s home. Finally. Fifty-two years after dying in battle during the Vietnam War.
But that’s only part of this drama.
Knight was an Air Force fighter pilot who perished on May 19, 1967, when his jet was shot down during a mission over Laos during the war. His remains were only recovered early this year. Authorities were able to identify through thorough examination of dental records.
But wait. There’s much more.
Knight said goodbye to his young sons at Dallas Love Field as he left to fight in that war. One of those sons, Bryan Knight, grew to become a pilot. He flies today for Southwest Airlines, based at Love Field.
Bryan Knight had the singular honor today of bringing his father home, transporting his remains aboard the Southwest flight. I am trying to wrap my arms around the emotional burden the younger Knight must have felt knowing he was bringing his father home so long after he said goodbye to him.
Good heavens. I am getting emotional just writing these few words.
What’s more, Col. Knight’s arrival aboard the plane piloted by his son was announced through the Love Field public address system. When the announcement came through the intercom, employees and passengers stopped what they were doing to watch Col. Wright’s casket being removed from the plane that brought him home.
Knight received full military honors upon his arrival. “Our Southwest Airlines family is honored to support his long-hoped homecoming and join in tribute to Col. Knight as well as every other military hero who has paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the armed forces,” the airline said in its statement.
Welcome home, Col. Knight.