WATCH: Awesome Tribute by Airline Gate Agent for WWII Vets On Their Way to France for D-Day


by Jason DeWitt | Top Right News

A group of World War II veterans got a sweet surprise on Wednesday, when a gate agent at the Detroit airport serenaded them with a beautiful rendition of the national anthem over the loudspeaker.

The moving moment came on Monday, when the agent at DTW, Anna Marie Barile, started to sing over the PA system for passengers waiting for Delta flight 98 from Detroit to Paris.

There were 12 WWII veterans on this particular flight, which was headed to Omaha Beach to recognize the 70th anniversary of D-Day. When it was announced over the PA system that they were WWII veterans, they received a standing ovation from all the travelers.

The tribute came about at the urging of Barile’s fellow employees, who encouraged her to sing since many of them had heard her voice before.


The moment was particularly touching for traveler Alyssa Vermeulen, who was heading to Italy (via Paris) for her honeymoon. She says she had just come back to the gate from the bathroom when she noticed a large crowed was gathered.

“I was worried that something had happened, but when I asked my husband, he said that we had several WWII veterans on the plane,” she told the local NBC affiliate via email. “Shortly after, the flag appeared out of the gate and everyone stood for the national anthem.”

Vermeulen captured the moment on video, which she posted to YouTube, and said the experience was a nice contrast to what typically goes on in an airport.

“It was a lovely display of patriotism in such a crazy place,” she said. “Usually, airports are a high stress environment where people are rushing to connections, frantically gathering items, or anxiously waiting (for) their zone call to board, but for a few minutes everyone in the airport was standing, quiet and peaceful, showing respect to those who fought for our freedom.”

And the heartwarming spirit didn’t end there. “The respect continued on the plane,” Vermeulen said, when “everyone stopped to thank these men for (their) service.” The pilot thanked the veterans by name, she said, and informed the cabin as the plane passed over Normandy.

“One of the veterans also celebrated his 95th birthday on the plane and everyone sang to him before we deplaned,” she said.

The experience struck a personal note for Vermeulen, who has several veterans in her family, including her grandfather who served as a marine in WWII.

“It truly was beautiful,” she said, “and it made the long plane ride, that would usually be filled with complaints of small bathrooms and uncomfortable seats that would usually be filled with complaints of small bathrooms and uncomfortable seats take on a whole new meaning of gratitude for what we are so lucky to have.”

(h/t Alyssa Vermeulen via YouTube)

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  • Mark Robert Jones

    We can never forget what they did for us….ever.

    • Lynne McKinney Wiser

      totally agree thank you my dear Uncle Tooter Laughlin…for what you did…cannot imagine what it was like for such young men to have to do what they did.
      thank all who fought for the USA may we always honor them…

  • Rikki Doxx


  • Helen Decker

    Oh my gosh, when I hear the national anthem sang the way it was intended, it makes my cry. She sang it so well. I cried. Thank you to the veterans that watched their friends die, and came home to live their lives full of horrible memories, so that I could live a life full of privileges that sadly…. sometimes I take for granted. Thank You!!

  • JoeThePimpernel

    Why do people insist on holding the camera sideways?

    • Letrell Cuff

      I dunno…probably the same reason people think they are funny? Ya think?

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  • Johhny “the rat”

    Brought a tear to the eye. I wonder if they let the vets on first?

    • John Hattabaugh

      yes. active, former active duty, and medal of honor receipiants board first.

      • Johhny “the rat”

        Thanks for the info.

  • DARgirl


  • Nancy in Arizona

    I hope the person sitting down the whole time is not a US citizen- angered me a bit, to an othewise beautiful tribute. Sad so many cant be there with their commrades in arms

    • Lynne McKinney Wiser

      Nancy dont be too angry it maybe they could not was nice to see so many stand as I hate seeing at a parade when the colors pass there really is few standing…that is annoying…doesnt seem to happen like that at rodeos…bless those American cowboys!

    • Julia Howe

      I thought it was a person sitting too, but it’s a back pack that you can see over the seat. No one I can see is sitting.

    • Julia Howe

      I thought it was a person sitting too, but it’s a back pack that you can see over the seat. No one I can see is sitting.

  • Good Ole Rebel

    The greatest generation, who gave everything so that freedom could be re-established throughout Europe. A Band of Brothers and TRUE Heroes

  • texlovera


    Hell yeah.

  • Yesihunt2

    ….now that’s what I’m talkin’ about…..

  • Pamela Bourdeau

    Absolutely AWESOME!!!!!

  • Todd Meedel


  • Kasey Clark

    I would like to point out the old man just to the right of the center of the frame. He immediately stands and assumes the position of attention. It’s still amazing to me to get to see a person behave like that. While most people are getting their cameras and moving around like a second grade recess, this guy does EXACTLY what we are all supposed to do when our National Anthem is played……Stand up, take off your hat and either stand still with your hand over your heart or at attention if you are/were military.

    • Julia Howe

      Actually, if you’re a US Military Veteran you can stand at attention and salute. That was put in place by Bush.

    • ChristianMan

      I was thinking the same thing when I saw people walking around. The military history in my family goes back to the civil war all the way through to my boys in Iraq and Afghanistan. Totally disrespectful.

  • Guy Bennett

    forever indebted to the “Greatest Generation”

  • HarryTheCat

    It’s especially touching when you realize that nearly 10,000 Allied troops died on those beaches 70 years ago. These guys knew that they were looking death in the eye, yet they went in anyway. This was our greatest generation, but if you know some of the young men and women who are now serving in our armed forces you know that we have another generation that we can be proud of.

  • Deacon Davis

    Simple acts of gratitude shown these heroes is never a small thing.

  • snakeplisken

    Thank you WW2 vets !

  • Nancy Smith

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful moment. So heartwarming in these troubled times.

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