The father of a soldier killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan last week said his family was booed by the first class passengers on the flight that brought his son’s body home to California.
U.S. Army Sgt. John W. Perry of Stockton, California, was killed on Saturday in Afghanistan by a suicide bomber who was targeting a Veteran’s Day fun run on the base. His father, Stewart Perry, wants people to overcome politics and talk about what really matters.
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The disgrace comes amid two weeks of post-election backlash against anything tied to traditional patriotism. “I want people to know about the heroic thing that my son did,” Perry said.
Sgt. Perry happened upon the bomber well before he’d reached his target. Though he was killed, he protected the soldiers running in the 5K Veterans Day run. His sacrifice was an act of selflessness that may well have saved the lives of other soldiers who were doing their best to distract themselves from the day-to-day stresses of the war on terror.
“He would have killed possibly 100, 200, who knows?” Perry said.
But Perry’s flight home to California wasn’t free of political controversy. The plane carrying Perry’s body was delayed as they loaded his coffin into the cargo hold. When the pilot announced the delay, and the reason for it, passengers in the first class cabin booed.
“To hear the reaction of the flight being delayed because of a Gold Star family and the first class cabin booing, that was really upsetting, and it made us cry some more,” he said.
Perry wants people to get beyond the rhetoric of recent protests, and to see the flag the way he sees it. “It’s not for protest – it’s for the death of the people that are saving us. That’s what it’s for,” he said.
“One example would be Donald Trump speaking badly about a Gold Star family, who I now am, and it really bothers me, but it also bothers me that people don’t want to talk about the terrorism that killed my kid,” he said. “My kid was over there to help put a stop to this garbage, and he died,” he said.