Hero's welcome for deceased Vietnam War veteran

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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.

"When he left from this very airport to fight in Vietnam his 5-year-old son came to the airfield and waved goodbye", Proskow wrote.

According to Knight's obituary, he served as a typing clerk in the Philippines, Japan and Korea before becoming a fighter pilot. After his remains were identified 52 year later, his body was returned to the United States by his son, a pilot with Southwest Airlines.

The flag-draped casket containing the remains of 36-year-old Colonel Roy Knight Jr. of Millsap, Texas, arrived at Dallas Love Field, Thursday, August 8, on a Southwest Airlines flight flown by Captain Bryan Knight. As a gate agent at Love Field announced, per Global News, "Col. Knight ejected from his aircraft, but no parachute was seen deploying" and a search "could not find him".

"How many people would ever have the opportunity to do this", Knight said.

Canadian journalist Jackson Proskow witnessed Knight's return home while waiting for his own flight in the Dallas airport and documented the event on Twitter.

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"He's really coming home", he said. "For Bryan to be bringing him back was just an amazingly ideal thing".

He was initially declared Missing in Action until being declared Killed in Action seven years later. His remains were only recently recovered and identified and brought back to the US.

Airport staff handed out USA flags to those at the gate as the plane landed and Knight's remains were removed, he said, as the entire airport fell silent to honor the war veteran.

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

Mr Perry said he had seen veterans remains flown home before but the response to Mr Knight was "especially unique", prompting an unusually large reception.

He will be buried in Weatherford, Texas, Saturday.