The flight from Atlanta to Detroit was packed full on Labor Day, but that isn’t what made this flight so special. The captain announced that they would be escorting a fallen soldier home.
Curtis J. Wells made the ultimate sacrifice for our country in the Korean War,” said the captain. “64 years later, he is coming home.”
At just 19-years-old, Private First Class Curtis J. Wells had been reported Missing In Action in early 1950 while serving in the Korean War. His remains had been confirmed found by the Pentagon after their discovery in Korea, and he was being sent home to his family for burial with full military honors. All noise on the plane stopped as this sight was going on out of the plane’s windows. No one moved, no one shuffled. Everyone was quiet and respectful as the weight of what was happening sunk in. They watched the short ceremony from their seats, leaning over to watch in respectful silence. For the entire flight, no one caused a disturbance or drew attention to themselves, knowing that the plane was carrying very precious cargo.
Ruth Malhotra, a passenger on the plane had this to say about witnessing the event:
In a country as divided as ours where friends harshly disagree on who to vote for and where the future seems daunting and uncertain, it was profoundly meaningful to watch an airplane full of strangers unite in this solemn yet unexpected moment, be vividly reminded that freedom is not free, and honor one who gave his life in past conflict so we could experience a future of liberty.”
PFC Wells deserved every bit of respect that he was shown that day.
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