Thunderbirds, Blue Angels fly over Philadelphia region to honor frontline workers in the COVID-19 pandemic

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, honored those on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 with a formation flight over Philadelphia.

The salute, from the Air Force and Navy, is in honor of healthcare workers, first responders, military, and other essential personnel while standing in solidarity with all Americans during this crisis.

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"We are truly excited to take to the skies with our Navy counterparts for a nation-wide tribute to the men and women keeping our communities safe." said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. John Caldwell, Thunderbird 1 and mission commander for the flyover. "We hope to give Americans a touching display of American resolve that honors those serving on the frontline of our fight with COVID-19."

The tribute is to our first responders and frontline workers who live and work and volunteer the areas hardest hit by coronavirus. The fighter jets first flew over New York City at noon.

By 1:45p.m. they took off from Joint Base Maguire Dix Lakehurst in Trenton above a crowd of onlookers.

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The Blue Angels and Thunderbirds fly over Center City Philadelphia on April 28, 2020.

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The Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy's Blue Angels flew over the Philadelphia region on Tuesday, April 28, 2020.

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The Blue Angels and Thunderbirds fly over Trenton on April 28, 2020.

"It meant a lot that they are doing the flyover for the heroes in the hospitals, I wish they could have seen more," said Fred Hohnhorst of Richboro, Pa.

The jets then finally made their way across the Philadelphia landscape.

This flyover was the first major event in months. Some people were so excited they briefly ignored social distancing.

In all, it was a moment of unity as we looked to the sky on a clear blue day.

"I'm a retired nurse. I think it is an amazing tribute to the first line people and all the people that are doing a great job working and taking care of patients. It's a lift-me-up for people to get out of the house," said Nancy Hall of Bella Vista.

The Navy and Air Force welcome and encourage viewers to tag the flyover on social media with the hashtag #AmericaStrong.


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