A Georgia doctor claims that Delta Air Lines prevented her from singing the national anthem to honor a slain soldier whose casket was on her plane.
Pamela Gaudry, an obstetrician in Savannah, said the incident happened last weekend on a flight from Philadelphia to Atlanta. Among its other passengers, the plane was bringing home the body of 29-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, a Green Beret killed two weeks ago in a raid in Niger.
“The captain came on and asked us if we would all remain seated while the soldier got off the plane first and while the honor guard took the deceased soldier out of the plane,” Gaudry said in a video she posted on Facebook.
She was so touched by the fallen soldier’s death, she explained, that she asked other passengers to join her in singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” to honor his sacrifice.
A Delta flight attendant quickly put the kibosh on that, Gaudry said.
“The chief flight attendant came up to my seat and she knelt down and she said, ‘It is against company policy to do what you’re doing.’ And I said, ‘The national anthem — and there is a soldier on board?’ And she said, ‘Yes, you cannot sing the national anthem,’” Gaudry claimed in the video, which appears below.
Gaudry’s video has been viewed more than 3 million times since Saturday.
She told The Associated Press on Monday that the flight attendant claimed singing the U.S. national anthem might make passengers from other countries uncomfortable.
“I couldn’t put up with that,” Gaudry said. “I wouldn’t be offended if I was in their country.”
Although Gaudry was praised by many on social media, some people thought she went too far in asking others to join her.
Noel Curry, who described himself as a retired Delta employee, suggested it was Gaudry’s decision to invite others to sing that made her actions questionable:
“Absolutely NO ONE would have said anything to you if you had simply stood up and started singing on her own without a concerted effort. And others would have been welcome to have joined you. Why didn’t you just do that? Wouldn’t an organically created moment have been much more meaningful than something organized? Organizing it would be contrived and it would not be genuine.”
Curry also wrote on Facebook that Gaudry’s choice of song was inappropriate in that situation.
“It’s not protocol and it’s not the proper song to be sung/played at a military funeral,” he said. “Funerals are somber and should be dignified ... this situation should be treated similarly. Silent reflection and prayer would be the order of the day. If any music should be introduced, it should be ‘Taps.’”
Delta takes great pride in supporting the military, the airline told Inside Edition.
“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,” the company said in a statement. ”Delta does not have a policy regarding the national anthem. We have reached out to the customer and are looking into this situation.”
On Sunday, Gaudry wrote on Facebook that Delta had contacted her to say “they had a flight attendant that made some bad decisions in trying to make this situation go away. They are going to do some training for the future.”