Our country’s brave fighters and soldiers who gave their lives for our freedom deserve our respect and homage.
We should be paying our respects to fallen service members, and it is not anything that surprises people. On July 18, 2016, a Delta Air Lines flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Atlanta was still something extra special.
An Army private who was escorting home the remains of a World War II veteran was on board. The soldier died in battle and has only recently been identified via DNA testing. When the plane landed, the pilot made an announcement instructing passengers to stay put so that he could disembark first.
Diane Cupp, from Johnson City, Tennessee, was a passenger on the flight. She was traveling back to the United States with her husband, Robert, who is a judge that day and had just returned from a 16-day tour of World War II sites in Germany and France. She was delighted to comply with the plane’s instructions like the other passengers but something incredible occurred that made many people cry tears of joy.
On board were 60 Iowa Ambassadors of Music students, in addition to the crew. They had just completed a concert tour in Austria, England, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. The other passengers on the lengthy flight had been entertained by the choir with two songs already. However, after hearing that they had a special guest on board, they gave another performance through a song as a surprise for him.
The flight attendants addressed the choir director, informing her of the military relics on board. They requested if the choir could assist commemorate the soldier with a song.
Diane shot a video of the performance and shared it on Facebook. Cupp is formerly a juvenile court director.
One of the choral directors on the plane, Luke Johnson, said, “We were really honored because … in times of need or times of struggle, people tend to go to music for comfort.”
Students began to sing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” as the Army private disembarked.
As the song rang out with all of their passion, every passenger in the area began to cry. In fact, as a result of this moving moment, even the vocalists were moved to tears. Because it is not something they encounter on an airplane all that often, it is definitely unique.
Cupp said in an interview, “It was so emotional. I was just so proud of the young people who started singing and the respect that they showed. My heart just melted.” In an interview with Des Moines Register, she said, “It melted my heart. I was so proud of them for doing that. It was so heartfelt.”
The fact that the pair was not supposed to be on the flight made this journey extra memorable. They rescheduled because they had to, and they were happy they did. Cupp stated, “I was on that flight for a reason. All the emotions from our trip of visiting concentration camps and a cemetery for American soldiers, I was just overwhelmed when they made the announcement about the soldier and (the choir) started singing.”
This was a spontaneous memorial on a plane, but it was certainly unique. Since its release, the video has been seen by millions of people all over the world. And since then, it has moved many people’s hearts across the world.