Texas airport watches as pilot son returns remains of Vietnam vet father

Captain Bryan Knight

It was a remarkable scene Thursday at Love Field in Dallas, Texas.

No one reported seeing a parachute get deployed before the crash at the time, and that September, Knight's father was declared dead by the Air Force.

After Col. Knight's death, Brian Knight followed in his father's footsteps, joining the Air Force.

Canadian journalist Jackson Proskow was at the airport, waiting for his flight home, when he heard a gate agent announce the arrival of Knight's flight and shared the story of how the son was flying home his father's remains.

Knight, who now works as a pilot for Southwest Airlines, was 5 when his father left to serve in Vietnam, and months after his departure, his father went missing in action when his jet was shot down and burst into flames on May 19, 1967, according to CNN and the New York Times.

After Knight's plane touched down, the pilot received a message in the cockpit.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency identified and recovered Knight's remains in February.

Knight's remains were discovered this past February almost 52 years after he went missing in action.

The remains arrived Thursday in a flag-draped casket to Dallas Love Field - the same airport where Knight said goodbye to his then-5-year-old son.

"When I first got the call, it was nearly surreal because I really didn't think it would ever happen", Knight, an Air Force veteran, said in the video. "The entire airport fell silent", Mr Proskow wrote.

Unfortunately, not everyone in the airman's family was there to witness his voyage back to the U.S. According to his obituary, Col. Knight's wife, Patricia, died in 2008 and his own parents passed away just three years after his disappearance.

The elder Knight was shot down May 19, 1967, during a mission in northern Laos. There are 1,587 US Defense Department personnel who are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. "This is awesome", Bryan Knight said in a video posted by Southwest on Twitter.

Col Knight's funeral will be held this weekend, with full military honours.

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