Julia Collman Jette was traveling from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport with her husband Neal when a special announcement was made. The Alaska Airlines flight was transporting a fallen Vietnam veteran who had served in the U.S. military for more than twenty years.
Once the announcement was made, the passengers took a moment of silence in honor of the man taking his final journey home. The silence was pierced when a flight attendant, Denise Snow, paid her tribute by singing a heart-wrenching rendition of the National Anthem.
Jette took to Facebook to recount the wonderful and heartwarming incident. Her post read: “Neal recorded this and luckily enough he had his phone out to record it. I was fighting back tears! This happened in the Anchorage airport just before we boarded our flight to Seattle. A fallen soldier’s ashes were being carried home on our plane. He served 21 selfless years in our military. What a moving experience and what an amazing voice of that Alaska Airlines employee!”
When Snow was told about the veteran’s presence on the plane, who was only identified as AJ, she made the announcement, and informed those present that she would be singing the “Star-Spangled Banner” as a tribute.
Once she started singing, her beautiful voice caught the attention of everyone within earshot, and they stood still to offer their respects.
According to Neal, almost everyone at the airport stood to offer their respects. He stated that “all but two” were standing as Snow sang the National Anthem. He said: “It was awesome to see the hundreds of people stop in their tracks to pull their hats off and stand at attention to show their respect.”
There is no policy requiring staff to do anything to honor the soldiers. However, Denise Snow always sings the National Anthem every time a fallen soldier is put on her flight. She also honors veterans making the Honor Flight, a program started by a non-profit organization to help U.S. military veterans visit war memorials for free.