Profiles of Valor: Col. Roy Knight Jr.
The Vietnam-era soldier finally came home on Thursday after his remains were discovered in February.
Fifty-two years ago at Dallas Love Field Airport, Major Roy Knight, Jr., said goodbye to his family, including his five-year-old son, Bryan. He was heading off to Vietnam. His family never saw him again.
Major Knight was shot down in combat, and his parachute failed to deploy. Rescue teams could not find him. In 1974, he was declared killed in action and promoted to colonel.
In February, Col. Knight’s remains were found and identified. On Thursday, Col. Knight returned home to the United States aboard a Southwest Airlines flight that landed at Dallas Love Field Airport. The plane bearing his remains in a flag-draped coffin was piloted by Col. Knight’s son, Bryan.
Canadian journalist Jackson Proskow was at Dallas Love Field on Thursday and happened to witness Col. Knight’s Dignified Arrival ceremony. He wrote that Southwest agents started handing out flags, and the entire airport fell silent as an announcement about the ceremony was read over the PA system. Proskow added:
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… It was peaceful, it was beautiful and it was a privilege to watch.
As Americans who lived through the Vietnam era know well, there was tremendous division in our country then. In many ways, this era is reminiscent of the 1960s and ‘70s. But there was also tremendous decency in the country then and there still is today.
Col. Knight’s return is also a reminder of this country’s commitment to those missing in action and to our prisoners of war.