A plane full of passengers was left in tears when they saw a fallen soldier being returned to her family on the tarmac of Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City.
“When we stopped at the terminal, the pilot announced that he would like to inform us that we were flying one of our fallen soldiers home to her family,” said Mike Helms, a passenger on the Delta flight who shared his memory of the moment the next day on Facebook.
“He asked that we remain on the plane until our soldier was removed from the plane first. He also asked that we give a moment of silence.”
Passengers on the plane watched as their unknown passenger was brought out in a flag-wrapped coffin, her parents crying as sailors in service dress blue marched to the coffin, saluted, and carried it to the hearse waiting nearby.
“This moment hit me hard for some reason. I couldn’t hold back tears,” wrote Helms.
“As I looked around the plane, I was hoping nobody would see my moment of weakness but to my surprise, damn near everyone on the plane was crying.”
“The woman standing next to me was Muslim, I assume because of the hijab she wore. She was in tears and she tried consoling the woman next to her. The plane was filled with people of all races and religions. It was amazing to see everyone on that plane pay tribute to this woman and her family.”
The soldier was Brooke Raelynn Newton, 25, an Oklahoma woman who passed away August 30, 2017 in San Diego, California. She was born at Tinker Air Force Base and was stationed at Coronado Naval Base. Her cause of death has not been disclosed.
“Brooke was a lover of oldies music, a friend to all animals, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, a proud Veteran, and an Oklahoma girl,” reads her obituary.
Jennifer Nadeau, a cousin of Brooke’s father Billy Newton, was on the tarmac and captured the sight that left the passengers so moved.
Brooke’s father, also a veteran, posted frequent photos of himself and Brooke together, later asking for prayers when she passed away at the end of August.