A student choir rose to sing on an airplane to honor a World War II soldier as his remains were carried home.
The touching story began when a Delta Air Lines plane stopped in Atlanta for a layover. The pilot informed the passengers that a U.S. Army private would be the first to leave, as he was escorting the remains of a WWII soldier back home before everybody got out of their seats.
The incredible event happened when the private got up from his place to exit the flight.
Many students stood up to honor the fallen hero and started singing, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
Passenger Diane Cupp took out her phone to record the heartfelt presentation while everyone was calmly listening to the teenage singers.
“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,” she said, recalling the moment to the Spotlight.
The singer students turned out to be accomplished singers from Iowa. They were members of the Iowa Ambassadors of Music, a nearly 350-members-group.
They were returning home following a two-week European performance tour, according to the Des Moines Register. The flight that stopped in Atlanta had 160 students on board. Sixty of them were choir singers.
Near the end of the journey, the air hostesses contacted the director to discuss the military remains on board.
“We were really honored because … in times of need, or times of struggle, people tend to go to music for comfort”, said Luke Johnson, one of the group’s choir leaders.
Everyone onboard, from the students to the other passengers, was touched by the event.
That was the same for Cupp. She was supposed to fly home from Germany on a different airline. Her husband, however, had a medical emergency, causing a change of flights.
“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,” Cupp said.
Johnson expressed his pride in the widespread distribution of the footage of his students performing on social media and other channels.
“It can be so depressing that negative things happen daily around the world,” the choir leader said, according to Des Moines Register. “Its so nice to see that something good can be touching the lives of people all over.”
The Iowa Ambassadors of Music is an honor society comprised of the band and chorus members from over 100 various Iowa schools. Since 1988, the bands have flown to Europe every other year to play a series of performances.