After receiving news of their son’s death, a Gold Star family was booed by first-class passengers on an American Airlines flight in route to gather their son’s remains.
Stewart Perry, a former Marine from Stockton, California, was traveling with his wife and daughter to Delaware after his son, Sgt. John Perry passed away on Nov. 12 during a suicide bombing at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. One other soldier, Pfc. Tyler R. Iubelt of Tamaroa, Ill., and two contractors were killed and 17 others were injured during the attack.
The Perry family flew out of the Oakland, California airport and were heading to a connecting flight in Phoenix with a final destination in Philadelphia. However, after the first flight landed 45 minutes later than expected in Phoenix, the flight captain made an announcement to the plane to ask travelers to remain seated because a “special military family has an important place to go.”
Public Disapproval for the Gold Star Family
Those in first class did not approve the captain’s words and began booing and making comments like “this is just baloney… I paid first-class for this?” When Perry’s daughter asked him why people were booing them he responded with, “I don’t know, we will just ignore that, OK.”
“I was really shocked that adult men and women — from elderly to mid-20s — would behave that way,” Stewart Perry said.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Perry said he is not certain that travelers knew they were a Gold Star family.
The Perry family did make their connecting flight on time in Phoenix after it was delayed for 40 minutes for them. Perry said passengers on the second plane were understanding and respectful towards them.
After much travel, the Perry family arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for the ceremony to honor Sgt. Perry and his fellow soldier. One of the attendees present was Vice President Joe Biden.
Perry said his son accomplished more in his six years in the military than he did in his 13 years. Sgt. Perry was awarded a Bronze Star, a National Defense Service Medal, three Army Commendation Medals, an Army Achievement Medal, a Purple Heart and many other awards while he served our country.