Jim Denison on the Power of Community

A portrait of U.S. Air Force Col. Roy Knight Jr., who was shot down over Laos in 1967, is displayed beside his coffin during the memorial service for him Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. Knight’s remains had been recovered and identified in February, then brought home last week for burial at Holder’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Cool, Texas. (Ronald W. Erdrich/The Abilene Reporter-News via AP)

“Dad has come home.”

With these words, Roy Knight III described the remarkable funeral service held last Saturday for his father, Roy Knight Jr.

Col. Knight’s homecoming made national headlines last week, and for good reason.


Roy A. Knight Jr. enlisted in the United States Air Force just days after his seventeenth birthday, following the example of his five older brothers, all of whom served in World War II. He served in the Philippines, Japan, and Korea, then became a fighter pilot, serving in Germany and France.

He and his family returned to Texas in 1963. He completed his bachelor’s degree, then received orders for Southeast Asia. He reported in January 1967 and flew combat missions almost daily until he was shot down on May 19, 1967.

Col. Knight was posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, and six Air Medals for his bravery. His remains were recovered and identified in February 2019.


A reporter named Jackson Proskow was at Love Field Airport in Dallas last Thursday. He had been covering the shooting in El Paso and was waiting for his connecting flight to New York City. There, he said, “Dallas became the place where the weight of the world seemed to melt away—the place where the good outweighed the bad for the first time in days.”

Here’s what happened: the reporter noticed camera crews at the gate, then a gate agent from Southwest Airlines began handing out American flags. Next came an announcement over the PA system stating that an inbound plane was carrying Col. Knight’s remains.

“Today, Col. Knight is coming home to Dallas,” said the agent.

He told the waiting crowds that Col. Knight said farewell to his five-year-old son at this very airport fifty-two years earlier before leaving to go to war. Then the agent made this remarkable announcement: “Today, the pilot of the plane bringing Col. Knight home is his son.”

As the plane flown by Southwest Airlines Captain Bryan Knight taxied toward the jet bridge, two airport firetrucks provided a water salute while the ground crew stood in formation. The flag-draped casket was unloaded from the cargo hold.

Then, as Proskow reported, “for a few brief minutes, Dallas Love Field fell absolutely silent. There were no garbled announcements, no clickety-clack of rolling suitcases over the tile floor, no shouting over cellphones. People stood quietly at the window, wiping away tears, taking in a moment few rarely get to see. It was peaceful, it was beautiful and it was a privilege to watch.”

Speaking of Col. Knight’s family, Proskow concluded: “We are so fortunate that they decided to share this moment with us, especially in a week when we could all use a little more hope.”

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Source: Christian Headlines