Most airlines support the military – usually by pairing with an active duty soldier or veteran non-profit, and donating to them (as well as having active fundraisers with them) on an annual basis. It should come as no surprise, being that a large portion of airlines’ employee base (particularly their pilots) have armed forces backgrounds! This connection, paired with the tendency for those in the military to travel often, leads to airline employees and military personnel rubbing elbows quite a bit in the skies.

So, as I’m sure many of you can attest, the airline industry ends up being a great place to show your support for our troops in the workplace. These sweet (sometimes sad) encounters often get a lot of attention in the news (like when an entire flight salutes a fallen soldier who has been carried home onboard), but many still often go unnoticed.

You may have witnessed these niceties onboard – like when a first class passenger gives up their seat to a soldier. Or maybe you’ve even been able to honor a soldier yourself by upgrading them to first class like our Brand Ambassadors (the @B5Ohana family) have. Another one of our Brand Ambassadors, @jmterrillimages, witnessed another one of these un-broadcasted moments and was, fortunately, able to capture it for us today.

In honor of our troops, whether they are on active duty, a veteran or fallen, we’d like to share this sweet story with you all today. Thank you in advance to Julie for capturing this lovely interaction. Read on to learn more about the Patriot Guard Riders and their unwavering respect that Julie got to witness while deplaning in Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.

After Julie’s flight arrived at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport on a Thursday afternoon, she headed straight for the sky train to the long term parking structure, glad to be home (and glad she didn’t have to wait for checked luggage). She exited the security area and made a beeline for the train, but stopped short when she saw a group of men holding flags and leading a group of people that were singing patriotic songs. Who were they? They were the Patriot Guard Riders.

These Patriot Guard Riders were waiting to welcome a group of WWII veterans home after returning from Washington D.C. on an Honor Flight.

Honor Flight is a non-profit organization created to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices. They accomplish this by transporting our heroes to Washington D.C. to visit memorials and honor those who gave their lives.

When Julie heard that there were no members of the press present, she waited an hour to document the homecoming, and we’re so glad she did.

“I was absolutely captivated by the little boy who stood at attention and shook the hands of every veteran that was wheeled past him.  I gave my contact information to his family and promised to share his photos with them. I asked who they were welcoming that day and Angelina, his grandmother, said they knew no one.”

“‘It was just a day with the grandsons.’ she explained. ‘We took them to ride the sky train and watch the planes. We let him guide us through the airport. As soon as he saw the gentlemen with the flags he wanted to go see. Our oldest son is a combat veteran and two younger sons are both Army. He knows about flags because we always point them out and (talk about) how beautiful they are.'”

Thank you a million times over for capturing and sharing this sweet story Julie! See her complete video below. If you have any touching military stories that you’ve witnessed at work and would like to share please comment below or send it to us here. We would love to make your industry honoring military story known! Have a safe weekend everyone, and THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts to all of our soldiers. Until next time, safe travels and keep your eyes on the skies.

Author: Emily (@ID90 Travel)

Emily is the Content Marketing Manager here at ID90 Travel. An avid non-rev flyer (she grew up in the industry), and passionate private pilot, Emily can’t get enough of all things aviation. When not writing awesome ID90 Travel content she can be found on a Texas patio, being one with nature, or annoying her ID90T co-workers with her many, many, crowdsourcing questions.