Unfortunately, a fallen soldier being transported back to the states has become a harsh reality during the multi-year War on Terror. Coming to terms with a soldier giving the ultimate sacrifice can be an even harsher reality. Especially when you become a part of the process. That’s exactly what happened earlier this week to a plane full of American citizens.
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Many people may be unaware that a fallen soldier is on their flight, but when one US Special Forces Green Beret was being boarded to the plane, an awe-inspiring moment of respect overcame the entire plane.
WO1 Shawn Thomas of 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group was killed in combat on February 2 after conducting advising operations in Niger.
A moment that is usually reserved for friends and family found its way onto Facebook. The video, which was posted by Lisa Willaims, simply said: “It was an honor to fly home with this PATRIOT! God Bless his wife and family. There was not a dry eye around me.”
The moment was a wife saying goodbye to her husband on the tarmac at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The video left many in tears after seeing the servicemman who gave his life for his country being boarded into the cargo bay.
At one point in the Facebook video, you can hear a bystander on the plane saying, “another angel coming home.” Those words couldn’t be more true. You can hear sniffles and men and women holding back tears as Thomas is being brought to the plane.
Thomas was a family man, as many men and women that serve this mighty country are. He leaves behind four beautiful children and his wife. His youngest daughter, who is just 4 years old, won’t fully understand why her father isn’t there until she becomes older.
When she does comes to terms with what happened, she will know her father was a hero to this country and was making sure she was safe in this country.
The flag-covered coffin of Thomas symbolizes the harsh reality of war. It doesn’t truly resonate with an American until you see it firsthand. As the video begins to conclude, the captain of the plane apologizes to the passengers for the extended wait.
Something tells me the passengers on the plane would have waited for as long as the wife and the crew needed to say goodbye.