Pamela Gaudry said she had a spontaneous idea as she was sitting in her seat on a Delta airlines Oct. 14 flight when it was announced a deceased U.S. soldier was on board.
There had been an announcement that fallen soldier Army Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright would be leaving the plane first.
Gaudry said she went around and asked every passenger if they would sing the national anthem as the casket was removed from the plane.
Gaudry said that most people were thrilled at the idea. One woman even cried in support of the gesture.
But before the passengers could sing, a flight attendant approached Gaudry and told her that singing the national anthem was against Delta’s policy.
When Gaudry said she refused to tell all the other passengers the singing was called off, she said an announcement was made.
Later, the flight attendant told Gaudry that the flight from Philadelphia to Atlanta had people from other countries who told the flight attendant they weren’t comfortable hearing the U.S. national anthem.
The passengers sat in silence as the casket containing Sgt. Wright was removed.
In a six-minute video afterwards in which Gaudry choked up with tears, she explained the shame she felt for backing down.
“I just did the most uncourageous thing in my life today, and I’m sharing it,” Gaudry said into the camera. “I hope somehow it gets to people all around, even the President.”
Gaudry explained what happened, and as the wife of a deceased Navy captain, lamented her alleged lack of courage.
“I didn’t know what would happen to me if I started to sing,” Gaudry said in the post-flight video. “I’m humiliated by my lack of courage to sing the national anthem on my own country on American soil, with a deceased soldier on the plane.
I wish I could have been an example for my children. I’m glad my former husband is deceased. He would have been profoundly disappointed in me.”
“Hopefully this will get shared around the country. And people will know that it is a policy of Delta to not be able to sing the national anthem on one of their planes,” she said.
Gaudry ended with: “All we can do is pray that this thing doesn’t continue to happen.”
Gaudry’s prayers were answered.
Gaudry’s video had more than 2.3 million views in the three days since it was posted Oct. 14.
The mainstream media started picking up her story nationwide, unable to ignore the video had gone viral.
Delta issued a statement obtained by The Hill, which said, “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.”
In a follow-up post Oct. 15, she said Delta contacted her and said it was not their policy.
“Delta has apologized to me. Profusely. I accept,” Gaudry said.
And Gaudry said she wanted to thank everyone for their support.