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Gold Star family booed for delaying flight

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WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 26: Specialist Jose Barreiro, of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, 'The Old Guard,' places a flag at a grave site during the 'Flags-In' ceremony May 26, 2016 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. A small American flag was placed one foot in front of more than 220,000 graves in the cemetery to mark Memorial Day. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

A Gold Star family was reportedly booed by first-class passengers aboard their flight recently because their trip to pick up their son's remains caused a delay.

Stewart Perry, a Marine veteran himself, was traveling from Sacramento to Philadelphia to pick up the remains of his son, Army Combat Instructor Sgt. John Perry, 30, who died last Saturday at Bagram Field in Afghanistan after stopping a suicide bomber from hitting a soldier's 5K Veterans Day run to benefit disabled veterans.

The family had a short flight transfer in Phoenix before traveling to Pennsylvania where their son's remains awaited. Perry said their flight to Arizona was 45 minutes late arriving and the American Airlines crew, fearing the delay may cause the family to miss their connecting flight, had the captain make an announcement "for everyone to stay seated and to let 'a special military family' exit the aircraft first."

This led to complaints from first-class passengers and tears from Sgt. Perry's family, according to the Daily Mail:

The heartbroken father said that several passengers seated in first class booed and complained.

"Some people were saying 'This is just baloney,' and 'I paid for first-class for this?'" Perry told the newspaper.

"It was just disgusting behavior from people in first class; it was terrible to see. You could see the disappointment from the flight crew." He said American Airlines "did everything they could" to accommodate his family.

The family made the connecting flight in Phoenix, as the next pilot stayed at that gate for 40 minutes so they could make it on board.

Perry, in an emotional interview with KOVR-TV, cautioned that the rhetoric of Donald Trump regarding Gold Star families is disrespectful, but also noted his concern that others "don't want to talk about the terrorism that killed my kid."

Sgt. John Perry leaves behind a wife of eight years, Julianne, and two young children - five-year-old Lena and four-year-old Gavin. He will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

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