The Blue Angels and Thunderbirds screeched across the Philadelphia skyline Tuesday afternoon, presenting a loud thank-you to the health-care workers fighting the coronavirus across the region and breaking a weeks-long silence across the city.
As the 12 fighter jets looped over the city twice, the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art were packed with people pointing their phones and cameras toward the sky, despite the social distancing rules. Dozens of small groups gathered throughout LOVE Park, their heads snapping up as the sky rumbled. People ran into the street and stood on medians to catch the best view; others sat atop their parked cars.
Brian and Nicole Johnson, and their two sons, Tyler and Jayden, drove into the city from Quakertown to see the jets. Jayden, 7, sported a T-shirt with hand-drawn pictures of the Blue Angels jets, and wore a beaming smile as the planes passed through.
“It’s really nice to still have stuff to look forward to like this,” said Brian Johnson. Brian, who works for MAC Trucking, and Nicole, who works in retail, have been out of work since March. “It’s really nice to see them right now, especially together."
The joint mission between the Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds sought to display a message of solidarity toward those on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus.
The flight began in New York City, and the planes landed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst before taking off again, flying over Trenton and Levittown and then turning south toward Philly. The jets arrived over City Hall around 2 p.m. and then turned east and flew over the South Jersey suburbs. They then made a loop over Bucks County before heading south, flying over Philly once more.