A passenger aboard a Delta flight carrying a fallen soldier’s casket was told she could not sing the national anthem to honor him.
Pamela Gaudry was informed by Delta personnel that singing “The Star Spangled Banner” was strictly against the airline’s policy after she attempted to sing it aboard the flight.
Gaudry, who described herself as a physician and the widow of a deceased U.S. Navy Captain, related her story in a video she posted on Facebook.
A complete lack of courage on my part…
As God as my witness, I promise that it will not happen again.
God bless this great country.
We need it desperately
Posted by Pamela Dee Gaudry on Saturday, October 14, 2017
Passengers on the Delta flight from Philadelphia to Atlanta were allegedly told to remain seated as the casket carrying Army Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, one of the soldiers killed in an ambush in Niger earlier this month, was taken off the plane.
The slain soldier’s best friend was also on the flight and was set to deplane ahead of the Honor Guard accompanying the casket, Gaudry said, adding that she had the “spontaneous” idea to sing the national anthem.
She asked other passengers if they would be comfortable joining her and said most people “were thrilled out of their minds” with the idea. Gaudry returned to her seat after checking with all the other passengers and, as the plane prepared to land, she was approached.
“The chief flight attendant came back to my seat and she kneeled down and she said, ‘It is against company policy to do what you’re doing,'” Gaudry said.
“And I said, ‘The national anthem? And there’s a soldier on board?’ And she said, ‘Yes, you cannot sing the national anthem. It is against company policy.'”
An announcement was then made to deter any other passengers from following through on the plan, asking everyone to “stay quietly in our seats” but not mentioning anything about company policy. She alsotold Gaudry that passengers from other countries might be uncomfortable with the singing of the anthem.
Gaudry complied but felt she did the “most uncourageous thing in my life today,” adding that her husband would have been “profoundly disappointed” in her if he were still alive.
“I am humiliated by my lack of courage to sing the national anthem in my own country,” she said, holding back tears.
Delta responded in a statement saying its employees “take great pride in Delta’s longstanding support of the military” but that they do not have a policy about the anthem.
“The respectful ceremony of the Delta Honor Guard is one symbol of Delta’s pledge to the men and women of the armed forces, and it represents our broad commitment to our veterans and active-duty service members. Delta does not have a policy regarding the national anthem. We have reached out to the customer and are looking into this situation,” the company added, according to The Hill.
Gaudry wanted to let people know what had happened by posting her video, which has been viewed over 1.5 miilion times. She also acknowledged that Delta did reach out to her in a lengthy follow-up post.
She added that the airline company apologized “profusely.”
“Delta has apologized to me. Profusely. I accept. Like many things in life … it should have been handled differently. I am not throwing any stones,” she said.
Dustin Wright’s family also reached out to her, Gaudry shared, and thanked her.
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