Travelers at Nashville airport sing ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ in moving tribute to children of fallen soldiers
All the other travelers stood still as they came across the powerful scene and began to sing the national anthem. Some even burst into tears after learning the purpose of the trip.
A large gathering of travelers at the Nashville International Airport spent a moment paying their respects to a flight full of children of fallen soldiers by singing the national anthem together as they were boarding a plane with their families on their way to a Disneyworld retreat. In the video which was uploaded on Facebook by user Jen Tringale, a crowd of children and their guardians can be seen standing right outside the American Airlines gate as a group of people sang the "Star Spangled Banner" while active servicemen and women were standing and saluting.
Tringale wrote on Facebook that all the travelers present stood still as they witnessed the powerful scene and were almost compelled to sing along. Some of the travelers were also seen in tears after they learned what the purpose of the trip was, Yahoo! News reported.
Tringale wrote: "I walked out into the concourse to this scene. @american Airlines was flying a plane full of children who had lost a parent in combat to Disneyworld on an all expenses paid trip and they threw a party for them at the gate."
The flight that was set to depart from Nashville, was one of many from airports around the country that was headed toward the Disney retreat for the annual Snowball Express that has been hosted since 2017 by the Gary Sinise Foundation. According to a press release, a surviving parent or guardian and 1,722 children were headed for a five-day trip in which various programs and support sessions are offered for the families who are grieving the loss of a family member in the military. The best part about the program is that they all get to meet others who understand their pain.
The foundation said in a statement: "No matter where a Gold Star Family may be in their grieving process, Snowball Express aims to provide a memorable experience where they can access support, create new bonds, make positive memories, and build a community with the only people who can truly understand their loss: each other."
Hundreds of thousands of people are now seeing the impact of the community for the first time after viewing the viral video. Another Facebook user has also posted a similar video from the Norfolk International Airport where she saw a similar scene unfolding as the passengers applauded the crowd as they were making their way through the airport.
According to a statement that was released by American Airlines, almost 1,000 members volunteered to serve the families who were embarking on the special trip. David Seymour, the Senior VP of Integrated Operations at American, who is also a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, said: "This event is a favorite among the American team. As a company, and as a nation, we owe it to [the families] to never forget the sacrifice that continues long after the war is over."
Tringale said that the company acknowledging the sacrifice of the fallen soldiers especially during the holidays is sentimental. She wrote: "To see all of this at Christmas time was so humbling. Seeing the general public in an airport stand still to honor these kids was simply beautiful."