Ken Fitzgerald, a retired airman sat in shock as he watched dozens of airline passengers disrespect a fallen soldier. “I was just in shock. I was looking at them and I was like, are you kidding me?!” Fitzgerald told local CBS affiliate KCTV 5 in Phoenix, Arizona.
The captain of the commercial flight had repeatedly informed the passengers that the remains of a SSgt. Andre Taylor were on board. He asked the passengers to remain seated out of respect for the SSgt. Taylor and his family until the casket was transported off the plane. “We have a fallen soldier on board, fallen airman and we ask you to remain seated as we pull into the gate until he can be escorted off the aircraft first,” Fitzgerald recalls the captain saying.
When the plane landed, the Taylor’s escort rose and walked toward the exit, and the passengers started to follow. “A person here, a person there started getting up and following them,” Fitzgerald said. “I think people should take a second and stop thinking about themselves.”
Fitzgerald recorded video of the impatient and disrespectful passengers who were too rushed to wait for honor.
Taylor’s sister Tiffany Dobson commented on the dishonorable crowd. “I was saddened by the disrespect people had displayed on the plane that day but now I’m just so overwhelmed by the love and support my brother and family has received [sic] because of that disrespect. It has really helped my family get through this hard time.”