05/27/17 Weekend Grif.Net – Flight 2255

05/27/17 Weekend Grif.Net – Flight 2255

Delta Flight 2255 from Atlanta =
to Los Angeles seemed to be an ordinary flight with the exception of =
Candy, who was the most loving flight attendant I’ve ever =
encountered. Besides using her southern charm to quickly defuse every =
situation, she began her welcome announcement by thanking the handful of =
uniformed soldiers on-board for serving our country. Her poignant =
message was followed by applause and put into perspective that none of =
us would be able to do what we do if it wasn’t for these brave men =
and women.


But this transcontinental =
flight turned out to be everything but ordinary. We later learned, when =
the captain got on the PA system about 45 minutes prior to landing, that =
we were transporting a fallen soldier. The plane went quiet as he =
explained that there was a military escort on-board and asked that =
everyone remain seated for a couple of minutes so the soldiers could get =
off first. He also warned us not to be alarmed if we see fire trucks =
since Los Angeles greets their fallen military with a water canon =


A few minutes after touchdown, =
we did indeed have a water canon salute, which I’d previously only =
experienced on happy occasions like inaugural flights. This time, the =
water glistening on the windowpanes looked like =


Passengers in the airport must =
have been worried when they saw our plane pull into gate 69A, as we had =
a full police and fire escort, front and back.


I was on the left side of the =
plane and later realized that the family could be seen off to the right, =
standing with the United States Army Honor Guard. Each military branch =
has its own honor guard, usually military in nature, and is composed of =
volunteers who are carefully screened. One of the primary roles for =
honor guards is to provide funeral honors for fallen =


When the jet door opened, =
another military officer addressed the escort who was standing at =
attention. He then stepped on the plane and told us passengers =
“I just addressed the escort. It is a sworn oath to bring =
home, to the family, the fallen.” He paused and then said, =
“Today you all did that, you are all escorts, escorts of the =
heart.” And then thanked us for our time and walked off the =


As you can imagine, everyone =
was silent, no one got up and I’m sure most had meteor-sized lumps =
in their throats and tears in their eyes like I =


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 remove 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 =


As soon as I saw her reach out =
to put her hand on the casket, I walked away.  This ordinary flight =
became extraordinary and is one that I will never =


Thank you to all the military =
who protect our beautiful country and let us live the lives we are able =
to lead. Without you we would be nothing. And thank you to the Honor =
Guard for making sure these fallen soldiers, warriors and heroes are not =
treated like just any piece of luggage as they used to, but rather with =
the care and respect they so rightly deserve.


[by JJ, =



Dr Bob =
Griffin =

"Jesus Knows Me, This I =