Fifty-two years after he died fighting in Vietnam, an American hero was finally welcomed home in Dallas on Thursday.
The remains of U.S. Air Force Col. Roy Knight, whose plane was shot down in 1967, were recently discovered and identified. And on Thursday, he returned home in an airplane flown by his son, Bryan, who last saw his father alive when he waved goodbye to him from the very same place at just 5 years old.
Jackson Proskow, the Washington, D.C., bureau chief for Canada’s Global News, was at Dallas’ Love Field Airport when he witnessed the harrowing return, which he described as “something incredible.”
As the beautiful moment unfolded, Proskow provided updates:
The patrons in the Texas airport learned about Col. Knight’s return when the Southwest Airlines’ gate agent announced it over the intercom.
Overcome with emotion, the agent paused in between his sentences. He told those gathered around the airport windows, “Col. Knight ejected from his aircraft, but no parachute was seen deploying. A search was undertaken but could not find him.”
But he was found recently.
“Today, Col. Knight is coming home to Dallas,” the agent added.
In his own retelling of the incredible event, Proskow wrote:
Airports rarely see moments of quiet — but for a few brief minutes, Dallas Love Field fell absolutely silent. There were no garbled announcements, no clickity-clack of rolling suitcases over the tile floor, no shouting over cell phones. People stood quietly at the window, wiping away tears, taking in a moment few rarely get to see.
He went on to say it was “a privilege” to witness Col. Knight’s return to the homeland.
Unfortunately, not everyone in the airman’s family was there to witness his voyage back to the U.S. According to his obituary, Col. Knight’s wife, Patricia, died in 2008 and his own parents passed away just three years after his disappearance.
But what a powerful moment it was for Bryan, now a pilot for Southwest.
“We are so fortunate that they decided to share this moment with us,” Proskow wrote, “especially in a week when we could all use a little more hope.”