Passengers booed a mother and father traveling to pick up the remains of their son, an Army soldier who had been killed in Afghanistan, because the passengers had to wait to get off the plane until the family had disembarked.
Stewart Perry told the local news that he and his wife were flying from Sacramento to Philadelphia to pick up the remains of their son, an Army soldier killed in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb. They had a connecting flight in Phoenix. When they landed in Phoenix, the flight was running 45 minutes behind and they began to worry that they wouldn’t make the connecting flight in time.
That’s when the crew of the plane stepped in. The captain of the flight asked all other passengers to remain seated so a “special military family” could leave first. According to Perry, people on the plane were not happy. “When he made that announcement, there was some hissing and some booing behind us,” Perry said, “To hear the reaction of the flight being delayed because of a Gold Star family, and the first class cabin booing—that was really upsetting, and it made us cry some more,”
Perry also brought up some of the campaign rhetoric from the 2016 election, saying “one example would be Donald Trump speaking badly about a Gold Star family, who I now am, but it also bothers me that people don’t want to talk about the terrorism that killed my kid.”
“My kid was over there to help put a stop to this garbage, and he died,” he said.
Despite the booing, the Perry family was able to make it to Philadelphia and their son, John Perry, who was 30, will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. Three other Americans also died in the bombing on Nov. 12.
Perry says his son, a husband and father of two, will always be remembered as a hero. “He made a decision that saved a lot of people,” he said. “I was told that he was found protecting a female soldier. … He didn’t get to live a full life, but he lived.”