Prattville School Teacher Conveys Powerful Story On Flight 993 From Atlanta To Birmingham

It happened on flight 993 Monday night, some 20,000 feet in the air.

"The pilot came on and announced two special guests on the plane," said Jenny Gray.

Prattville school teacher Jenny Gray wasn't on the plane but her parents were. It's a story of how the journey home for Stephen Bicknell quickly silenced a plane-full of passengers. Bicknell is the young man from Prattville who died in Iraq last week, a fallen soldier accompanied by a fellow soldier.

"The pilot explained that a soldier was escorting his friend home and that Stephen Bicknell had made the ultimate sacrifice. That's when the plane got quiet and the only thing you really heard were tears," Gray said.

In the midst of those tears, passengers noticed something else.

"A gentleman in first class gave up his seat to the soldier who was escorting Bicknell home," Gray said.

It touched Gray so much she decided to write about it and emailed the account to friends.

"It just sort all came together," said Gray.

By the time Gray got to work Wednesday morning, she had at least 20 email responses from co-workers and strangers, thanking her for sharing the story.

One of those responses was from Bicknell's father. Jeffery Bicknell wrote Gray back and said in part, "I just want to thank you for letting me know about the respect my son was shown by complete strangers. There have been people who have died for me.. my son and Jesus Christ."

Jenny Gray never taught Stephen Bicknell in school but in way she feels as though she always knew him, thanks to a story from on high that's touched so many on the ground.

Bicknell played football for the Prattville High School Lions.  Visitation for Bicknell is Thursday at Prattville High School from 4 to 8 P.M. His funeral is set for Friday at 1 PM at the First United Methodist Church in Prattville.