On December 8, 2018, a group of children, who have had parents killed in service to the country, got an unexpected and unplanned salute from the people at Nashville International Airport.
Everyone at Gate C10 noticed the kids, who were on their way to Disney World, courtesy of the Gary Sinise Foundation, stood up and saluted the group with an impromptu rendition of the national anthem.
The Gary Sinise Foundation took over the Snowball Express in 2017, and this year, 1,722 children took part.
She explained, “I walked out into the concourse to this scene @americanairlines was flying a plane full of children who had lost a parent in combat to Disneyworld on an all expenses paid trip and they threw a party for them at the gate❤️.”
“When they announced them over the loudspeaker and they lined up to board the plane the whole airport literally stopped and sang the national anthem with military present in salute. Most every person standing around, myself included was bawling at the sight of these kids and spouses who have paid so great a price for our country. To see all of this at Christmas time was so humbling. Seeing the general public in an airport stand still to honor these kids was simply beautiful.”
She told reporters that she has received countless messages from people touched by the video.
“I’ll never forget it myself,” she wrote, “witnessing an unannounced standstill like that by the general public – out of honor.”
According to the Gary Sinise Foundation’s website, the “Forrest Gump” star says the goal of the Snowball Express program is for “our Gold Star families to feel remembered and for them to see that they are not alone. It’s something I feel is incredibly important for our nation, letting the children know that we do not forget their sacrifices and we honor them. And it’s such a great feeling to see them healing, smiling, and having fun.”
Sinise will be getting on the fun himself later this week, he promised the Los Angeles contingent, “I’ll join up in a few days, Have fun, kids! We love you!”
Many people are happy to hear of such a show of solidarity for not only the men and women in uniform, but for the nation itself.