Old NFO has a post that shows, in part, a Delta Airlines employee honor guard unloading the remains of servicemen. Worth watching.
Some of the remarks, especially “Bob’s” are compelling.
The contrast to the Vietnam era brings back some not so pleasant memories. After getting out of the Army, I went back to school 1968-1970. To make ends meet, worked at the old Denver Stapleton Airport as a cargo handler, first for TWA, then Braniff. We handled many human remains, and far too many were serviceman.
In the flow of business then, these were just another piece of freight. Each was accompanied by a active duty serviceman, in uniform. About the best we could do was have a single cart and tug haul the box to the airfreight office. The serviceman could ride on the tug. We had to make sure we used a tug with a double seat. At busy times, not even that would happen. Enough of us were prior service that we were able to handle the transfers ourselves, respectfully, and load no other freight into the cart. Nothing like a formation, or salutes. Simply moving the remains smoothly with no jarring and placing the box in the cart squared away was about the best we could do (and smacking the shit out of anyone making disparaging remarks).
It makes my heart glad to see the changes that have occurred.