Pilot Pays Tribute to Fallen Soldier in Touching Speech

Photo Credit: @randyrose71 / TikTok
Photo Credit: @randyrose71 / TikTok

There are fewer and fewer events these days that manage to pull at people’s heartstrings – the following TikTok video is one of them. In it, viewers are introduced to an American Airlines pilot who took the time before his flight to pay tribute to a special passenger on board the aircraft.

Pilot speaking into a telephone
American Airlines pilot speaking before the airplane’s passengers. (Photo Credit: @randyrose71 / TikTok)

The video was uploaded to TikTok earlier this week by user @randyrose71, who was on a flight to Raleigh-Durham International Airport in Morrisville, North Carolina.

The unnamed pilot began his speech by asking if anyone on board the airplane had served in the military or knew someone who had, before requesting that the other passengers thank them for their service. He then segued into the main reason for his speech: that the flight was transporting someone who had lost their life while serving in the Armed Forces.

“The special announcement is that we have an extra person on board, but he’s not in a seat,” revealed the pilot. “He’s underneath the aircraft.”

Pilot speaking into a telephone
Photo Credit: @randyrose71 / TikTok

That “extra person” was Lieutenant Commander Daniel Min of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment. He had served in the New England area, and while his cause of death has not been released, the pilot shared that he was aboard the flight so that his mother could lay him to rest.

Lt. Cmdr. Min was being escorted by Lieutenant Commander Susan Toby.

After sharing the news, the pilot asked that everyone join him in a moment of silence, in honor of Lt. Cmdr. Min’s service. He then ended his speech by saying the following:

“Freedom is not free. We are so blessed to be in this country.”

Pilot bowing his head while holding a telephone
Moment of silence for Lieutenant Commander Daniel Min. (Photo Credit: @randyrose71 / TikTok)

The video has been viewed over eight million times since it was uploaded, and has received 1.4 million “likes.” Over 11,000 users have commented on it, praising the pilot for his words.

“Absolutely one of the most respectful things I’ve seen,” said @tonydix2.

“Made me cry. God bless to all who serve their lives for us,” commented @mrs.wahlberg.

“And the fact that he remembered his name and info, and didn’t read it off shows how much he cared and respects. God bless,” remarked @kaylie.dawson.

Lieutenant Commander Susan Toby sitting in an airplane seat
Lieutenant Commander Susan Toby. (Photo Credit: @randyrose71 / TikTok)

Thank you to all who serve in the military and risk their lives for us each and every day. We respect your sacrifice.

Clare Fitzgerald

Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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