A heartbreaking video of an army widow breaking down in tears over her fallen husband’s coffin on an airport tarmac went viral online on Saturday, February 18.
Green Beret Shawn Thomas, 35, was killed in a car accident on February 2 while deployed in Niger, Africa. “This was Shawn’s 8th deployment defending our freedom while doing a job that he loved,” Shawn’s obituary said. He shared four children — Cheyenne, Taylor, Gavin and Natylyn — with his wife, Tara Thomas. The couple were based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Shawn’s flag-draped coffin arrived at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in Morrisville, North Carolina, on Tuesday, February 14. A Facebook video recorded by Lisa West Williams, a passenger on the aircraft, shows soldiers moving Shawn’s coffin off the airplane as Tara walks over and places her hands on the U.S. flag, breaking down in tears.
Williams told WNCT-TV that Tara thanked her for recording the video and said she wanted it to be shared. “She wanted people to realize that this goes on every day,” Williams told the news outlet. “There are many men and women that come home in a casket and they’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for us.”
“It was an honor to fly home with this PATRIOT! God bless his wife and family. There was not a dry eye around me,” Williams captioned the Facebook video, which has garnered more than 8 million views. In the clip, fellow passengers can be heard crying as they watch Tara say goodbye to her late husband.
“It was heartbreaking,” Williams told WNCT. “Never seen anything like it before.”
Shawn, who was honored with two Bronze Stars and four Good Conduct Medals during his service, will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
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