John E. DiScala, known as Johnny Jet on Travel Channel, was on a flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles when they learned there were soldiers onboard.
Later, the captain got on the PA system and informed passengers that they were transporting a fallen soldier.
He explained that there was a military escort on-board and asked that everyone remain seated so the soldiers could get off first, DiScala wrote on his website.
People on the flight learned fire trucks would greet the fallen soldier with a water canon salute.
"The water glistening on the windowpanes looked like tears."
“I just addressed the escort. It is a sworn oath to bring home, to the family, the fallen," a military officer said to passengers. “Today you all did that, you are all escorts, escorts of the heart.”
"I’m sure most had meteor-sized lumps in their throats and tears in their eyes like I did," DiScala wrote.
It only got more emotional when I deplaned. There was a large number of passengers, who are normally in a hurry to get home or make a connection, standing by the window to witness something truly moving. To see the Honor Guard and family waiting patiently, while LAX baggage handlers and a military loadmaster removed the flag covered casket first from the cargo hold, was humbling to say the least. I'm not sure if it was the fallen soldier's mother or wife who I watched slowly walk up to the coffin while a few other family members, wrapped in blankets, stood near with a dozen or so of the Honor Guards standing in salute. As soon as I saw her reach out to put her hand on her baby's casket, I walked away. This ordinary flight became extraordinary and is one that I will never forget.
Adrian Carrasquillo is the White House correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Adrian Carrasquillo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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