NASHVILLE — The bustling Nashville International Airport came to a brief standstill over the weekend as travelers sang “The Star Spangled Banner” for a group of children who had lost their parents in combat.
The scene reduced many witnesses to tears, one traveler said.
The kids and their families were on their way to Disney World as part of “The Snowball Express,” a program of the Gary Sinise Foundation that serves children of fallen service members.
Jen Tringale was heading to a speaking engagement in Florida on Saturday when she came across a party at the C10 gate with balloons and costumed characters for the kids. She captured the moment in a Facebook video that has been viewed more than 480,000 times.
The airline announced the group and someone began singing the anthem as the families lined up to board their plane. Travelers stopped and stood with their hands over their hearts, some singing along, and uniformed service men and women saluted.
“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,” Tringale wrote on Facebook. “To see all of this at Christmas time was so humbling.”
Tringale told CNN it was a memory she will never forget.
“It was a beautiful moment to happen upon and witness for such a worthy cause,” she said.
The Snowball Express trip was organized by the Gary Sinise Foundation and American Airlines. They take families of fallen military members around the country on free trips to Disney World to honor their sacrifices and help them create new holiday memories.