Funeral held for Vietnam War fighter pilot after son brought his remains home to Texas

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Family and friends buried a North Texas soldier on Saturday, more than half a century after his plane was shot down over Vietnam.

Colonel Roy Knight's remains were recently identified and flown back to Dallas earlier this week.   

Amid the ceremonial acts that send a service member off, a military funeral still maintains a soldier's sense of discipline.

Though time flew by quickly at Saturday's services in Cool, Texas, west of Weatherford, it was a moment that's been more than 50 years in the making.

“The homecoming of Colonel Roy Knight. 52 years in coming,” McDonald said.

After graduating from Millsap High School, Knight enlisted in the Air Force just three days after turning 17.

On May 19, 1967, he was flying a mission over Laos during the Vietnam War, when he was shot down.

His oldest son, Roy Knight III, was just 11.

“My mother told me dad had been shot down, and I didn't understand the full import of that,” Roy Knight III recalled.

Col. Knight's remains weren't found, that is until the area was excavated in the early 90s.

Earlier this year, dental analysis confirmed it was him.

From there, Southwest Airlines orchestrated a trip back with Knight's son, Bryan, on the flight deck.

“As you probably noticed, there's a little bit of activity going on on the right side of the aircraft. We're taking one of our servicemen home,” Bryan said at the time.

MORE: Son brings Vietnam War fighter pilot's lost remains home to Texas

“Until today, the only place I could really feel close to him was the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C.,” Bryan added.

Knight has made the more than 8,000-mile journey home to Texas.

It was one 52 years in the making, but some people in life are timeless.

“Colonel Knight, welcome home. Not to hunt, not to fish, not to play ball, not to hug their family. But to stand as a symbol for all of time that freedom isn't free,” McDonald said.