Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport, killing at least 60 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops, Afghan and U.S. officials said.
Eleven Marines, one Navy sailor, and one Army soldier were among the dead, while 18 other U.S. service members were wounded in the attack on Aug. 26.
On Sunday, the day the 13 military members returned home, American Airlines flight attendant James Goldsmith, 33, was struck with intense sorrow and empathy for the young members of the military who lost their lives doing what they loved most — honoring and protecting their country.
This is when he was overcome with an idea — to reserve seats on his next departing flight with each of their names in their honor.
“I saw that we had plenty of open seats from Chicago to Dallas, so I thought it would be a great opportunity,” says Goldsmith.
That very night, he collected 13 cards and wrote their names down on each one. Then, he wrote a one-minute speech, which, he announced on the telecom of the flight the next day right after he gave his safety speech to those on the plane.
In his speech, he asked the cabin if they had an empty seat next to them, and if they would like to honor one of the fallen members of the military who died in Kabul by placing their name card in their honor for the entirety of the flight.
Needless to say, the entire cabin raised their hands.
“I went through the cabin, and everyone raised their hand pretty much right away,” he says. “We were really honored to give them the flight that they deserved.”
He then took out his phone to film his act of kindness, and created an Instagram Reel, which he shared on his Instagram account on Tuesday.
In the caption, he wrote:
“Today my crew dedicated our flight AA2754 to the 13 service members who lost their lives in Afghanistan last week. They all deserved to be able to fly home and hug their loved ones again. We were proud to honor and fly with them today. 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸”
Goldsmith has only been a flight attendant for a little over two years, but has already made a positive impact on his team — and hopefully, many others.
“I would love for all of the troops to get the honor that they deserve,” he says. “It was all about them.”
“I was just glad I had the opportunity with the open seats on our trip to do that.”