On Oct. 16, Julia Jette was half asleep in the Anchorage airport, waiting to board a red eye flight to Seattle, when she heard something unexpected.
“We thought it was the announcement to start boarding, “ Jette said.
Instead it was customer service agent Denise Snow, letting her passengers know that a fallen soldier’s ashes would be traveling on the plane and that she would like to sing in his honor.
“Everyone as far as I could see stood in respect and were silent as she sang,” said Jette, who posted a video of the tribute to Facebook. “I was fighting back tears. The family member carrying the ashes was crying and it ripped my heart out. It was amazing and heart wrenching all at once.”
In less than a week, Jette’s husband’s video of Snow, which she shared on Facebook, had 142,000 views and more than 4,000 shares.
Snow has been with Alaska for 26 years, and says she sings to inspire others.
“I always pray that my singing will bring joy to the hearts of those listening and soothe away their pain,” said Denise. “I love to honor those who fought so hard for America and my freedom with my voice and let them know I appreciate what they did for this country. “
Snow said her passion for singing began at church at the age of three, singing for her church’s prison ministry. Most recently she performed at a send-off ceremony for a group of 23 World War II veterans departing on an Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C.
“Denise uses her gift of a beautiful voice to honor those that have served our country, some making the ultimate sacrifice. I do not believe she has missed an Honor Flight departure, at times coming in dressed in her uniform on her day off,” says Marilyn Romano, regional vice-president, Alaska. To watch a 90-year old World War II veteran stand at attention from his wheelchair while Denise sings is something you never forget.”
Read about Alaska’s Fallen Soldier program: Alone on the airfield, one cart is reserved for heroes.