CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) — It was a soaring salute across the region on Tuesday. The Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds flew in formation, above the Philadelphia region, to honor the men and women on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
— Alecia Reid (@alecia__reid) April 28, 2020
In a time of uncertainty and turmoil, it was the perfect day to witness a tribute from the sky.
“It’s really cool,” one person said.
It was a show spanning the entire region that honored health care workers and those on the frontlines.
— Stephanie Stahl (@StahlCBS3) April 28, 2020
“It was very uplifting and encouraging and those planes were beautiful. I just felt like the unity between all the area hospitals, they just wrapped us up with their capes and it was amazing,” said Kelly Seel, a health care worker at Cooper University Hospital.
Children and their families also made their way to the roof of Cooper University Hospital’s parking garage. It was a welcomed break from life’s current miseries.
— Chandler Lutz (@ChandlerCBS3) April 28, 2020
“I’ve been out of work since the 15h of March due to the pandemic and when something like this happens, boy, the spirits are raised,” Tom Mitchell said.
Shortly after 2 p.m., the 12-jet formation and additional photography aircraft made it to Philadelphia.
In a city frozen by the pandemic, the flyover became a warmer reason to pause.
While residents were urged to watch the display from their homes and remain socially distant, it was clear that many did not heed those warnings.
Life hasn’t been the same for most. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Thunderbirds’ air show season was canceled, but today’s event was quite a treat.
— Jim Donovan (@jimdonovancbs3) April 28, 2020
“It was a very nice break for us and it gave me chills, just the whole experience, even watching everyone on the rooftops,” Lori Osinski said. “It’s beautiful.”
“It’s special. Something to brighten our spirits a little bit,” Garrett Robak said.
This event took weeks of careful planning and the effort didn’t go unnoticed.
— Joe Holden (@JoeHoldenCBS3) April 28, 2020
“This was something to see,” Mitchell said. “Probably an event that will never happen again.”
This is the first time in history the Navy and the Air Force teamed up to put on a show.
As for the price tag, according to the Department of Defense, the flyovers come at no additional cost to taxpayers since such displays are already included in annual operational budgets.
CBS3’s Alecia Reid and Alexandria Hoff contributed to this report.