Earlier this month, hurricanes plagued the coasts of Southeast, causing ripples all the way to the top of the country. Mass evacuations meant that major airports like even O’Hare in Chicago were extremely busy with extra unexpected traffic due to Hurricane Irma.
But when one flight was hugely delayed about two weeks ago, not a single person complained.
Kris Parker was one of the passengers on board this flight, and like the others, she was at first confused. They had boarded late, then they taxied onto the runway, and then there was another delay. But when she peered outside the window, she saw why.
“When I finally got close enough to see what the commotion was, it moved me to tears,” Parker wrote on Facebook.
“I saw a huge American flag hanging from a crane, Navy officers lined up on one side and police officers lined up on the other,” she wrote.
“A fallen Navy sailor, 23 years old, was being transferred to my flight for his final trip home to his family.”
And despite the busyness that comes with being an international stopover, despite the hurricane traffic—“O’Hare pulled out all of the stops to honor this young man.”
The Chicago Fire Department was there to see him off as well; with fire trucks positioned on both sides of the aircraft to give him a final Water Salute.
“When we arrived in St. Louis, hearts broke as the sailor was given back to his awaiting family. Heartbreaking does not give true meaning to what we witnessed but I love the fact that not one person on my flight made the slightest complaint,” Parker wrote.
“We were in awe, in the saddest of ways, but we were also struck with a true respect of the rights and freedoms we have and the cost those rights carry. The fallen sailor’s escort remained still with his flag folded in his lap during our flight home.”
Parker said the experience brought true perspective; it was humbling yet inspiring.
“I hope this man’s family will know what O’Hare did to honor his sacrifice for us all as he made his final voyage home… We as a nation spend so much time arguing over rights, letting hatred fuel the fire, we lose sight of those sacrificing precious life for us to even have rights to argue over in the first place…”
The solemn show of respect touched Parker to her core.
“My faith in this country was renewed tonight.”
Based on the reactions to her Facebook post, many people felt the same upon hearing this story. In no time, the post racked up over 300,000 shares, and over half a million reactions on her post alone.
“It’s things like this that need to bring things into perspective. We honor those who protect us with Liberty and freedom,” one commenter wrote.