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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — The 16th annual Atlantic City Airshow roars above the beach and boardwalk.

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The dazzling aerial display — culminating with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds — thrilled a crowd Wednesday estimated in the hundreds of thousands.

It’s an unmistakable roar that makes your heart pound, your chest shake and your eyes never want to blink.

“The first time I saw the Thunderbirds was an Air Force base in South Carolina in 1962 and I’ve seen them every year since,” said Air Force veteran Jack Cooper.

The Thunderbirds highlighted the airshow, though this year our neighbors from the north brought a little competition.

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For the first time, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds made a stop in Atlantic City.

“Our show is very different; we have nine aircraft in tight formation doing a lot of large graceful maneuvers,” said Captain Blake McNaughton.

Tight formations and heart-stopping passes are just part of what helps the airshow draw about 400 thousand visitors each year.

Search and rescue demonstrations by the Coast Guard, parachuting tricks by the Army Golden Knights and flybys from enormous Air Force cargo planes, are all meant to capture the imagination of the next generation who may someday serve our proud military.

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