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Honour Those Who May Fall


Bryan Knight is an airline captain, flying Boeing 737 aircraft for Southwest Airlines (SWA) in the United States. Southwest is the US airline known around the world – despite not being an international carrier - for pioneering low-fare air travel. The company has provided the business model for others to follow, including Ryanair, whose CEO Michael O’Leary famously went to America to learn how it should be done from SWA’s the late Herb Kelleher, the one who thought up the idea and made it work.

Southwest are also known for something else too; that which beats within. SWA began flying from what had become the secondary airport serving Dallas, Love Field. The airline’s heart, and its very soul, is here, where it began. SWA’s journey from small beginnings is well documented (not least here on KJM Today; see Tyler McDowell’s features - https://www.kjmtoday.com/single-post/2019/01/05/Aviation-The-airline-Herb-built and https://www.kjmtoday.com/single-post/2019/01/09/Aviation-Flying-with-Southwest), and the airline adopted the heart symbol as its own.

It’s as true today as it was when SWA began flying, which makes the airline good to fly with as a passenger and good to work for – as Captain Knight does. He is a native Texan and fifty-two years ago, when he was just five years old, and at Love Field, he waved goodbye to his father Roy, a US Air Force pilot. It was the last time Bryan Knight saw his Dad.

On May 19, 1967, Colonel Knight was shot down over Northern Laos during the Vietnam War and because he came down in hostile territory, his body was never recovered. Having never been found, the Air Force declared him dead in 1974 and his family was forced to move on without closure. Bryan was twelve years old by this time.

The United States however, does not leave it’s fallen behind. Sometimes it may take a while to recover those who never made it home from a conflict but the USA does not let up. If its military cannot do so at the time, then search and recovery will go on. It’s what the country’s Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency does.

POW/MIA stands for Prisoner of War and Missing in Action and it is this part that the agency excels at. Its good all round actually but if somebody is a POW at least those at home know. It helps. Yet there is a part of a family that stays gone if a loved one’s body cannot return home. It’s not very different wherever you go, anywhere in the world, including the United Kingdom. Grief is grief, no matter who you are. But at least if one can say a final farewell it does make passing a little easier. Just a little.

Life however, has to go on. So Bryan Knight grew up and became a pilot like his dad, and a Captain with Southwest Airlines.

Jackson Proskow, Washington bureau chief for Canada's Global News, was on connecting flights between El Paso and Washington on Thursday August 8 2019, at Love Field when he witnessed, in his words, ‘something incredible’.

Proskow said: I’m at the airport in Dallas, waiting for my flight home to DC from El Paso, and something incredible is happening.