The holidays can be particularly rough for anyone who has lost a loved one. For the children of fallen soldiers, this time of year is especially hard.
Thankfully, there are those who recognize these children and their families. The Gary Sinise Foundation’s Snowball Express program is just one way military families have been shown love and compassion.
“Snowball Express began in 2006, with a letter written by a fallen soldier to his wife, only to be opened should he perish in battle,” a press release from the foundation explained.
“While the letter expressed many things,” the release went on, “one wish was that they visit Disneyland. From that letter, Snowball Express was created to bring together the children and surviving spouses of fallen U.S. military heroes for a healing retreat.”
It’s been 12 years, but Snowball Express is still going strong. On Dec. 8, 2018, an American Airlines flight full of grieving children made its way from Nashville to Walt Disney World, where a special retreat would be held in their honor.
But takeoff didn’t take place before a heartwarming tribute was made to these children and their parents and guardians.
Thanks to speaker and author Jen Tringale, a viral Facebook video captured a moment that may just leave you saying, “I’m not crying! You’re crying!”
Watch as travelers and soldiers stand and salute during the national anthem. This is truly unlike anything I have ever seen.
“But when they announced them over the loud speaker 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,” Tringale wrote on Facebook.
“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.”
Tringale has since received a flood of requests for interviews. “It’s really all about the honor and respect that is due in recognizing these amazing gold star families and the sacrifice they have made,” she shared in a separate Facebook post.
“If you’d like to move on your compassion for these families you can,” she wrote. “Give to the supporting foundation, the Gary Sinise Foundation, that sent these 1,722 gold star families to Disney and does so much more all year around.”
You can also learn more about Tringale by listening to her podcast where she talks about connecting with God’s purpose in your life.
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