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Gold Star family of slain California soldier booed on flight


    U.S. Army Sgt. John W. Perry of Stockton, Calif. Stewart Perry, the father of a soldier recently killed in Afghanistan says he felt disrespected and hurt by passengers who booed him and his family when they were on a flight that was running late to meet his son’s remains and passengers were asked to remain seated so they could deplane first.

STOCKTON, Calif. >> The father of a California soldier recently killed in Afghanistan says he felt disrespected and hurt by passengers who booed him and his family when they were on a flight to meet his son’s remains.

Stewart Perry, his wife and daughter were on an American Airlines flight Monday from Sacramento to Philadelphia with a transfer in Phoenix to receive the remains of his son, Sgt. John Perry, of Stockton, when the flight was delayed, the Stockton Record reported Saturday.

Perry, an ex-Marine who lives in Stockton, said the flight to Phoenix was 45 minutes late and the crew, fearing the Gold Star family could miss their connecting flight, made an announcement for passengers to remain seated to let a “special military family” deplane first.

Perry said several passengers in first class booed, complaining that it was “baloney” and that they paid first-class fares. He said he doesn’t know if the passengers from Sacramento knew there was a Gold Star family on board or whether people sitting in the coach section complained.

“It was just disgusting behavior from people in first class; it was terrible to see,” Perry said.

Perry, 30, and another American soldier died of injuries inflicted by an improvised explosive device Nov. 12 inside Bagram Airfield.

The husband and father of two young children died a hero, his father said.

“He made a decision that saved a lot of people,” he said. “I was told that he was found protecting a female soldier. . He didn’t get to live a full life, but he lived.”

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    • I have been on many flights where an announcement was made to let passengers with connecting flights deplane ahead of all other passengers. Never was there any objection voiced. If there is any criticism to be laid here, leave it with the American Airlines crew and ultimately its captain for creating a distinction when none had to be made.

      All paying passengers likely have stories of bravery (and cowardice) in their family trees. As such, all passengers should get what they paid for, except where common courtesy is expected. ‘Nuff said.

      • Have you lost a son in combat. Didn’t think so. Until you do leave your comments to yourself. Just like the Chump insulting Gold Star families. There is no lower level of disrespect.

        • Hey keaukaha,

          You don’t know me – neither do you know what I’ve done or what I’ve won or lost.

          Your obvious disdain for the Bill of Rights ought to cause you to hang your head in shame. Your comment also make me sincerely doubt you respect Gold Star families at all.

          Until you appreciate better what being an American means, maybe you ought to rethink remarks that would do Adolf Hitler, “Uncle Joe” Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot proud.

      • Very symbolic event: the old ideal of all serving the common good has faded and egocentric rich people are demanding the middle class and poor serve their private interests. Sad, All served in WWII and Korea. Today, the poor and middle class “volunteer” to fight bad wars concocted by incompetent “presidents” and the war financiers and war manufacturers. What a hideous scene.

        • Allie, I agree! It has not been since WW1 and to some extent WW2 when the rich lost their kids to combat. I have been one of those “poor kids” who enlisted for a better way of life at the chance I might get through the time without serious injury. When I go to the VA I see how much some of these kids have lost.

          The people who booed this family should have been removed from the plane! Even if it were for a non-service related death I would wait for the family. Why can’t people just be civil and help the grieving family out. I can’t imagine losing one of my kids…..

          Just Sad that people are like that.

    • I am often reminded that I need to think before I react. Whether we are driving our cars, or riding on a plane, we don’t know what is going on in someone else’s life at the moment they cut us off, or push their way to the front of the line, and this is a perfect example of that. If we would all just assume that the guy weaving in and out of traffic is trying to get to the hospital because his dying child is about to breath their last breath, we wouldn’t be so quick to sit on our horn or yell out the window. And if they aren’t, whats the damage. For all we know, we may have avoided a possible road rage incident by not responding. I know I need to take my own advise a lot more often than I do.

      • You can’t handle the truth. Just quoting the Chumps exact words. Funny it isn’t disgusting to all of you when he uses these words and other sick phrases. Better get used to it cause I’m just getting started.

        • People who boo a family who just lost a son who died defending our country to me is equivalent to a pus-y grabber aka the Chump.

      • It is not about whether you won as you did not win this election but a racist and misogynist that has won this election. In the past such behavior might have been met with consternation. Today, it is acceptable when a candidate admits to grabbing the private areas of a woman. Or when a candidate comes out in the open and make demeaning comments about Latinos and other races. Then there are constant juvenile comments on Tweeter that takes personal attacks to another level. This is not a man of great moral character. His election set us back hundreds of years when it comes to civil rights. And it puts into question our conscience as a nation that tolerates racist and misogynist comments.

        • And yet Donald J. Trump is the President Elect. I guess your candidate had some flaws…a bit more serious.

        • daddy,

          Let’s, for the sake of argument, assume everything you say regarding Donald Trump is 100% true. Do you realize almost the same can be said of Lyndon B. Johnson? Yet, with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 he arguably advanced social justice in this country more than any single politician before or since, not excluding Abraham Lincoln.

          As even Obama recently opined, the sheer power and history of the office can make someone rise above himself.

          C’mon, give the guy a chance.

  • Wow! They probably did not know the circumstances why “civilians” were deboarding before them but regardless, these entitlement passengers really have NO-class. Shameful especially because the jeers were toward our military and their family. Mr. Perry and family, my apology for what happened.

    • It like you just stated in the beginning of your post, the other passengers didn’t know the circumstances yet you are faulting them for their behavior on something that they had no idea was going on.

        • Not everyone knows that. The flight crew should have either been more explicit about why this family was “special,” or at the very least made it clear that these folks, regardless of their military status, were allowed to deplane first because of a connecting flight. I’ve been on planes a few times when that’s happened.

  • It’s all on how the airline flight crews make their onboard announcements. All airline passengers have experienced and understand unanticipated “delayed flights” which frequently result in passengers often missing their connecting flights. A more pleading inflight explanation re allowing these de-planning connecting passengers would have helped ease this common situation.

    • Absolutely no excuses period. They knew that it was a military family and that should have been enough of a reason to keep their sorry as-es in their privileged seats.

      • So every military family should be able to leave every flight first all the time, that’s what’s I got from your comment. Or, are we using knowledge about why this family was on the plane to make a judgement on the other passengers who didn’t know what a “special military family” was and if they would have had the info that we now have, they would have responded differently.

        • As I stated above, many times I’ve been on flights where it was requested that passengers who have connecting flights be allowed to deplane first. This was usually after the flight had arrived late and (understandably) screwed up the schedules of some travelers with short layovers built into their intineraries. Never was there a vocal complaint made that I was aware of.

          The problem here is that the captain and crew made a distinction (and maybe a presumption of privilege or entitlement) when there didn’t have to BE one.

          We are just talking about making a connecting flight are we not?

        • jusris,

          Even if keaukaha meant to extend every military family member that privilege (which he didn’t) it would never have worked. On some flights you’d have full-bird colonels expecting to queue up ahead of lieutenant colonels, and lieutenant colonels expecting to get ahead of majors and captains. And to be sure, most officers would be ticked off getting behind ANY enlisted, unless of course he happens to be a Medal of Honor recipient, in uniform and wearing the ribbon.

          People are just, well, people.

  • Regrettably poor behavior makes the news. “Reality” shows featuring obnoxious, entitled self proclaimed celebrities have set a low standard for
    people to emulate. That said, since the president elect disrespected a “Gold Star” family, the term is well known throughout our country. It may have
    been better for the pilot to have stated that. One could only pray that those that felt put out, would have the decency to refrain from acting so disrespectfully.
    I salute and respect all of our military service personnel. God bless the Perry family as they deal with the tragic loss of their young son. He is a hero
    in a world that is increasing producing self indulgent zeros.

    • I understand and appreciate your view of the story, but take a little different look at it. To me, it is a good reminder to all of us (I need a smack upside the head more than most), that we should try to put others before ourselves. If we all did that, the world would be e a different place.

  • I may be wrong, but I think chances of something like this happening in Hawaii is slim or nil. Aloha is part of who we are, and being rude is just not in our collective genes. Aloha is so much a part of us that we take it for granted. It’s still rare to find drivers leaning on their horn at intersections or in traffic. In fact, in Hawaii, many of us have never ever used our horn and probably don’t even know where it is. At service counters, everyone looks around first to make sure no on else has been has been waiting longer. In grocery store lines when we have a full cart, we always give way to the person behind with only one or two items. When lanes have to merge, drivers automatically allow every other car in. Pedestrians and drivers always flash a shaka or wave a thank you when you stop to let them cross or pass. Whether gold star or ordinary families, I think we’d treat them with equal tolerance. Lucky we live Hawaii.

    • I agree with you but some of these comments make it seem like we live in Mississippi instead of the Aloha state. Really brave with their comments here but don’t see any white supremacists on the streets here and I think we know why.

    • kimo,

      You seem like a pretty decent soul but I feel compelled to say that the manners and deference you suggest to be the Aloha Spirit have been on the decline for a long, long time. Take just one venue that is probably common to many of us: Costco Iwilei. When sample foodstuffs are being handed out, have you ever witnessed the bratty behavior some kids, and some people old enough not to be kids, display? All the grabbing and cutting in front that leave seniors and others slow off the mark with just thin air? And what about outside where fast food is sold? Just about every time I’ve cared to notice, there are noisy kids darting in front of others just to get to the drink dispensers before the ice runs out. Maybe that passes as cute behavior to adoring parents these days – who knows?

  • I think Perry had said that the First Class passengers, the rich and elite, had booed his family. Hey, if your in First Class just eat it. Otherwise just do like the 1%ers billionaires and fly in your own jet. That way you don’t deal with the other 99% travel needs.

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