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Old Dec 17, 11, 6:35 am   #1
 
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Delta Honor Guard

Earlier this week I was out at the Airport visiting the Delta Holiday Military Lounge, I learned that there were two Military personnel escorting a fallen solider home. The escorts were being accompanied by a Chaplin who told me about the Delta Employee Honor Guard ceremony for veterans. This program is put together by a group of Delta volunteers, and I got the chance to meet Brian, a 28 year Delta employee who coordinates the ceremony in Atlanta. He told me that he has been organizing a group of volunteers for the past several years that are a part of this program that began in Atlanta with another employee Tom in 2005. While Brian didn’t serve in the military, he proudly showed me pictures of his father who was a veteran, and his son is serving in Air Force and has been deployed twice to Afghanistan.

The Honor Guard now has several special carts painted in the Delta Paint shop with a flag on top, and one that is specifically designed to transport the veterans’ casket. The volunteers participate in a flag ceremony, read a prayer and give the military escort a special Delta Honor Guard coin to be passed onto the next of kin.

This program has now expanded to Boston, Minneapolis, and Norfolk, as well as other airlines including American.

This particular ceremony took place was on Concourse E, and since this is the International Concourse with restricted access, I had to shoot these pictures from the gate. Several people in the gate area came over to see what I shooting pictures of, and when I was done there were more than a dozen people standing there watching, many with tears in their eyes. Truly it was a very moving experience to witness, and it was a honor to meet some of the caring employees at Delta that makes this happen on a regular basis. My many thanks to Delta Worldport team, and to the many volunteers that participate in this program for veterans as they make their final pass through Atlanta.

In addition to the pictures below, there is a YouTube video of the ceremony from 2008. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2aHPEGS-3w





























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Old Dec 17, 11, 6:38 am   #2
 
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atldlff thank you for sharing. +many for the DL employees
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Old Dec 17, 11, 6:46 am   #3
 
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Thank you for sharing this
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Old Dec 17, 11, 6:53 am   #4
 
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Thanks for sharing this as well. Very moving.
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Old Dec 17, 11, 6:55 am   #5
 
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Beautiful but heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing.
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Old Dec 17, 11, 7:57 pm   #6
 
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One of the most moving films I have ever seen is Taking Chance with Kevin Bacon....
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Old Dec 17, 11, 8:05 pm   #7
 
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Are the DL staff holding the flags prior service?
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Old Dec 17, 11, 8:23 pm   #8
 
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atldlff thank you for sharing!

+++++ for the DL employees that show respect while escorting those that gave all!
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Old Dec 17, 11, 8:32 pm   #9
 
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For all the bi*ching we do about Delta on this forum, this is an incredible thing that DL and these volunteers are doing.

That this is the first we've heard about it since Enduring Freedom/Iraqi Freedom started, more power to DL for not tooting their horns about it.

Kudos all around.
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Old Dec 17, 11, 8:45 pm   #10
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As critical of DL as I am, this is one good thing they are doing.
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Old Dec 18, 11, 7:21 am   #11
 
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A few years back I was flying DL PHL-ATL. It was a rainy/stormy afternoon & flights were being cancelled and delayed all over the place due to weather and maintenance issues. I noticed a soldier in the gate area and watched as a couple of times DL personnel went to speak to him and walked with him away from the gate. I thought maybe they were taking him to a USO lounge to wait out the delay. Didn't think much about it as I went off to the CRC to see about getting re-booked on the earliest possible flight.

I ended up being seated in the same row as that soldier & in the course of conversation with our 3rd seatmate he said he was 'escorting a soldier home'. At first I didn't realize what he meant and I thought to myself, where's the other soldier? Then he told us about how great the DL personnel had been. He had been moved to a different flight due to the IROP (maybe even twice, don't recall all the details) and they brought him down to the ramp while the casket was moved. He said despite the pouring rain and the overall stress of the IROP, everyone handled the transfer with the full respect deserved.

I know DL has a lot of former military personnel and have heard about pilots & other crew taking part in this process for fallen soldiers. Nice to hear about the good things they're doing for a change.
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Old Dec 18, 11, 7:23 am   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BergerPHL View Post
One of the most moving films I have ever seen is Taking Chance with Kevin Bacon....
I watched that on an international flight once when I couldn't sleep. Thank goodness my husband was sitting next to me not a stranger, otherwise they would have thought, who's this crazy sobbing woman? Very powerful story.
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Old Dec 18, 11, 7:34 am   #13
 
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Thank you for posting. This is the very best post I have read all year.
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Old Dec 18, 11, 8:05 am   #14
 
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Very moving. Thank you ATLDLFF for sharing this and thank you to Delta for doing this for our fallen.
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Old Dec 18, 11, 8:05 am   #15
 
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This is really moving, thank you for sharing!
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