A current USA Today article describes how Roy Wright, an Air Force Major, left Dallas, Texas, for Vietnam fifty-two years ago. On the day he left, his five-year-old son Bryan went to Dallas Love Field to see his father off. Roy was later shot down while attacking a target on the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos, on May 19, 1967. He was leading a flight of two aircraft, and no parachute was observed prior to the crash, or as it crashed and burst into flames. Even though search and rescue efforts were initiated and organized, an actual search could not be conducted due to the intensity of hostile ground fire in the area.
Very recently Bryan, who is now a captain for Southwest Airlines, brought his father’s remains aboard a flight to the same Dallas Airport. In early 2019, a joint team recovered possible human remains and life support items, and were later able to identify Wright's remains. When the remains were returned to the Dallas Airport, hundreds of crewmembers, onlookers, friends, and military personnel gathered on the tarmac. Some brushed away tears and many had their hands over their hearts. Two fire trucks sprayed an arc of water over the Southwest Airlines plane as it rolled slowly to the terminal.
The story of Roy Wright, who was posthumously promoted to colonel, and his son Bryan, who also served in the Air Force, was announced over the airport intercom as the moving scene unfolded. The gate agent was very emotional as he spoke the words over the PA system; American flags were given to everyone at the gate. The event is all the more remarkable due to Bryan’s endeavor to not only become a pilot, but also to bring the remains of his father home to Dallas, and also because of the reaction of those involved in the return.
For many years Bryan must have hoped and planned that this could happen. Without doubt, other children encounter disastrous situations in their lives and experience a hope that, someday, there can be a resolution. Even more children harbor hopes of fulfilling a wish. When I was in grade school, geography was my favorite subject. I hoped that when I was an adult I could travel worldwide. Fortunately I was able to do this, and traveled not only to every state in the USA, but also to South America and Europe. These opportunities broadened my understanding and respect for people of many cultures. And living my long-held dream has been deeply fulfilling.
Dear reader, have there been such enriching experiences in your life—of things you wanted to do as a child, and were then able to do as an adult? All comments are most welcome!