Fifty years after the Vietnam War, the sons of Air Force Col. Roy Knight finally get a chance to say farewell to their father, even if it’s to his remains. 

In May 1967, Knight was a pilot with the 602nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, assigned to Udorn Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand. Knight’s A-1E Skyraider was hit by anti-aircraft fire during a mission over northern Laos on May 19, 1967, and subsequently crashed.

The troops lost him on the radar and even though a search and rescue mission was initiated, an organized search could not be conducted due to the intensity of the enemy fire, according to a Department of Defense statement.

In September 1974, after being deemed missing for seven years, he was declared deceased.

Knight’s remains were identified in June 4, 2019, after a joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) teams recovered possible human remains and additional life support items. Scientists from the DPAA laboratory were able to make a complete identification of the remains based on dental records. 

After five decades, on Aug. 8, at the very same airport that he left the United States for war, one of his two sons, Bryan Knight, flew his father’s remains back home.

The emotional scene was first reported on Twitter by Jackson Proskow, who was at the Dallas Love Airport waiting for a flight.

For Roy Knight, the eldest of Knight’s two sons, it was hard living a life of the son of a man missing since he was 11. “You have these competing emotions—you’re happy this is resolved, but there’s that uncomfortable feeling of change and coming to grips with reality, then there’s also immense, intense sadness that comes whenever you contemplate the loss of someone that’s important to you. It has been a little more difficult to deal with in that regard and the fact is, reliving a lot of that and unpacking it all and dealing with it again does have an emotional aspect to it,” according to Task & Purpose.

Knight will be buried Aug. 10, 2019, at Holder’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Weatherford Texas where he will receive full military honors, according to his obituary.