“Good day ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please.” This was the captain of a Delta Airlines flight speaking to all passengers on its arrival in Atlanta from Frankfurt on the 18th July 2016. He went on to tell the passengers that there would be a delay in disembarking as a private from the U.S. Army was escorting the remains of a soldier who died during WWII off the plane. The serviceman’s remains had been found on a European battlefield and identified through DNA testing.
The passengers sat in silence until the choir of the Iowa Ambassadors of Music, who were co-incidentally on the same flight, burst into song in recognition of the event. They sang a moving rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Republic and then the fellow passenger, Diane Cupp, filmed their rendition of “Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!” and posted it on her Facebook page. The 350 strong choir and band had just completed a 16-day concert tour of Europe.
In an interview with TODAY Magazine, Diane Cupp (62), who lives in Johnson City, Tennessee said, “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.”
Diane and her husband, Robert, were returning after a tour of World War II sites in Germany and France. They were delayed by a medical emergency and were not on the flight that they had originally booked. Cupp said, “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.”
The recognition given to this Unknown Soldier is humbling, and Ms. Cupp summed it up very well by saying, “Right now, we’re a nation that’s so divided that it’s just one of those moments where everybody comes together. There were tears in people’s eyes and tears in mine.”