A Georgia woman is speaking out after she was told that she and fellow passengers would not be permitted to sing the national aAnthem to honor a fallen Green Beret whose remains were on board the flight.
Pamela Gaudry said when she found out that Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright’s remains were on the flight from Philadelphia to Atlanta, she and other passengers decided to stand and sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” as soldiers removed his casket from the cargo hold, WTOC reported.
“I went around to each seat and I asked if people felt comfortable (singing the national anthem), if they would join me, and most people were thrilled out of their minds,” Gaudry said in a Facebook video posted Saturday after the flight.
Gaudry, who identified herself as the wife of a now-deceased Navy captain, claimed that a flight attendant told her that singing the song was against Delta’s policy and that “everybody is going to stay in their seats and be quiet.”
“I’m humiliated by my lack of courage to sing the national anthem in my own country on American soil with a deceased soldier on the plane,” Gaudry said later in the video. “I just sat there with tears rolling down my face.”
Her video has been viewed more than 588,000 times since it was posted.
In a follow-up Facebook post on Sunday, Gaudry added, “Hundreds of thousands of people now know that Dustin Wright died for our country and there were a lot of people on the plane that wanted to honor him. Hundreds of thousands of people are praying for this family now that weren’t.”
Gaudry’s post was praised by a number of commenters, but some disputed her claim.
One man named Noel Curry, who said he is a retiree, said Gaudry inviting others to sing made her actions questionable.
“What is questionable is going to each passenger and soliciting them to do something you’d like them to do,” he said. “Whatever that action is...it’s a gray area.”
“Absolutely NO ONE would have said anything to you if you had simply stood up and started singing on her own without a concerted effort,” he said.
Typically, a moment of silence is observed by passengers and others when fallen soldiers are returned to their families.
Gaudry said she was told by company officials that the company will have training in the future in response to the event, WTOC reported.
“There is not a policy about singing the national anthem, period,” Delta spokesman Anthony Black told The Associated Press.
Delta’s full statement to WTOC, issued Monday, is as follows:
“Our employees worldwide take great pride in Delta’s longstanding support of the military. 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.”