According to historians, during WWII the deaths of American soldiers would probably amount to 407,000, although nobody knows the exact figures. To this day, the remains of fallen soldiers are still being found and brought back home, regardless of the fact that three-quarters of a century has passed by.
Diane Hollifield Cupp happened to be onboard one such flight from Germany to the US, where a private was escorting the remains of a fallen WWII soldier back home.
It was a mid-summer day, and Cupp was returning to the US after a vacation during which she had the chance to visit many sites across Europe related to WWII. When her flight from Frankfurt to Atlanta was about to land, the pilot announced that an Army private, who was carrying the remains of a soldier, would be first let off the plane.
It just so happened that onboard the flight was also a group of teenage singers, more specifically the Iowa Ambassadors of Music Choir. During the flight, the group’s choral director, Dr. Lee Nelson, was seated across one of the flight attendants, who explained the situation to him and asked if they could sing something.
It seems that everything happens for a reason because, during their Europe tour, the choir had been concluding their concerts with the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, so the director found it fitting for the occasion. So, when the time came for the private to exit the plane, the choir broke out singing “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah…”, leaving everyone in the plane speechless.
However, directing a choir on a plane, especially when the members are scattered all around the plane, isn’t an easy task. For this reason, Dr. Nelson asked a chaperone for help; they stood back to back and directed the group. Their performance was so impressive and touching, that Cupp quickly grabbed her mobile and captured the whole thing on video, which she then shared with her friends on Facebook, soon going viral with more than 200,000 views.
“It was absolutely beautiful, to see the respect that these kids had, I just had to capture it,” Cupp told the news. “It was an awesome treat for me and something I will never forget.”
According to Dr. Nelson, this unique moment taught the young choir members a life lesson; that it is very important to use music “in the way it’s intended to be used”, that is to show love and respect. The choral director must definitely be proud of those young Iowans and the way they handled such a sensitive moment.
One thing is for sure, that nobody left the Delta Airlines Flight 15 unaffected. Not only did everyone admire the performance, but they also must have taken some time to reflect on what important role music can play in our lives, while also remembering and maybe saying a silent prayer for those who fell in battlegrounds and concentration camps about a century ago so that we can be free today.
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