A woman and many other passengers on a recent Delta flight were prohibited from singing the national anthem as a deceased soldier was taken off the plane because a flight attendant said it was against company policy and that other passengers “from other countries” were “uncomfortable” at the thought.
The woman who lead the effort to try and sing the anthem, Pamela Dee Gaudry, posted a video to Facebook that has since gone viral and also caught the attention of Delta.
It turns out that the flight attendant was mistaken, and Delta has since apologized to Gaudry and said there is no such policy, and that passengers should have been allowed to sing the anthem.
“I’m humiliated by my lack of courage to sing the national anthem in my own country on American soil,” Gaudry says in the video, which has garnered more than 1.1 million views and 28,000 shares on Facebook.
Gaudry, who is a physician, was on the Delta flight from Philadelphia to Atlanta over the weekend. The captain announced that there was a deceased soldier on board, and for all passengers to please remain seated upon landing to let another soldier in uniform, who was traveling with the deceased soldier, get off the plane first while the Honor Guard took the deceased soldier off the plane.
She thought this was “great,” said Gaudry, who is the former wife of a deceased Navy captain who served 20 years.
After an idea struck Gaudry that the passengers should sing the national anthem as the soldier got off the plane, and she went around the entire plane asking passengers to sing with her, Gaudry was quickly shut down by a female flight attendant who told her it is “against company policy to do what you’re doing,” and that other passengers from other countries were “uncomfortable.”
“I just did the most un-courageous thing in my life today,” Gaudry said in the Facebook vide. “I’m sharing it. I hope that somehow it gets to people all around and even the President.”
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 Please share…..
Posted by Pamela Dee Gaudry on Saturday, October 14, 2017
“We had a deceased soldier who was also accompanied by his best friend, a man in uniform. The captain came on and asked if we all remained seated while the soldier got off the plane first and while the Honor Guard took deceased soldier out of the plane, which was great,” Gaudry says in the video.
The deceased soldier was 29-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright. He and three other U.S. Army Green Berets were killed earlier this month by an ambush in Niger, West Africa.
“I had an idea – it was just one of those spontaneous ideas that it would be so neat that when the soldier stood up [to get off the plane] that we should sing the national anthem,” Gaudry explains. “I went around to each seat and asked.”
She said most passengers were “thrilled out of their minds,” and that many said we should make a habit of doing it. While most people said singing the national anthem would be fine, others did not want to do so.
“After I sat back down, it was apparent that the plane was starting to descend. The chief flight attendant came up to my seat and said it is against company policy to do what you’re doing,” Gaudry says. She is visibly upset and somewhat shaken throughout the video, but particularly at this point in the video and beyond.
She says the flight attendant told her she could not sing the national anthem, that it was “against company policy.”
The crew then made an announcement that “we were to stay quietly in our seats,” but didn’t mention that it was against company policy to sing the anthem, Gaudry explains.
She says the flight attendant told her there were “several other people from other countries” on the plane who were “uncomfortable” with anyone singing the national anthem.
“We all sat in silence as the honor guard took the soldier off the plane. I was a little scared … I didn’t know what would happen to me if I started singing,” Gaudry says.
“I’m humiliated by my lack of courage to sing the national anthem in my own country on American soil,” she adds. “I wish I could have been an example for my children. I’m glad my former husband is deceased because he would have been profoundly disappointed in me. Having been in Vietnam and having saved a lot of peoples’ lives there, he would have been horribly disappointed in me.”
Delta has since reached out to Gaudry and apologized, she said, Fox reported.
Delta said the flight attendant was “misinformed,” and that no such policy exists that would prevent passengers from singing the national anthem, Fox reported.
In a statement exclusively obtained by Fox, Delta said:
“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.”
“Evidently, they had a flight attendant that made some bad decisions in trying to make this situation go away. They are going to do some training for the future,” Gaudry told Fox. “Delta was very reverent and let the honor guards do a wonderful thing to honor each and every soldier that comes home with this beautiful tribute. For just this reason, I personally do not believe in a boycott of Delta.”
“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 also told Fox, adding that she was also contacted and thanked by Wright’s family.
“I just wanted people to know that this happened,” Gaudry says at the end of her video, adding that is she obviously “disheveled” from traveling all day and “emotional” because of what took place.
“Many people on the plane were upset and said all we can do is pray that this kind of thing doesn’t continue to happen,” she adds. “I wish I had had more courage to start singing. It’s too late now.”