WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - The U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds buzzed the Washington D.C. area Saturday to honor tribute essential workers on the frontlines of this unprecedented COVID19 battle.
And the sights and sounds of the tribute left some in Northwest D.C. speechless.
That was the experience near Sibley Memorial Hospital in Northwest. FOX 5 video of the fly by showed some clapping in cheering. Others had a look of ‘awe’ on their faces.
While area officials asked people to safely watch from home, some said Saturday they wanted to watch outside of Sibley Memorial as a way to show support for their community’s hospital. Neighbors told FOX 5 DC they’ve gotten to know the staff over the years.
“Our son had various breaks from when he was little all the way up to recent surgery for my husband,” one woman named Sue said. “Many of our doctors are there. You know, we know nurses and these people are enabling us to be safe right now and putting their own lives on the line and we just can’t hug them, so we just want to be here across the street clapping. And we’ve also seen these planes before and they’re spectacular!”
The Blue Angels and Thunderbirds started in Baltimore and by 11:45 a.m. were flying by the Prince George’s County Hospital Center in Cheverly. They also hit Suburban Hospital and Walter Reed before heading into Virginia to Inova Fairfax Hospital and back to the National Mall.
Those watching described feeling a sense of unity and pride.
“In times of crisis, you know, when we pull together, you know, it’s nice to see that there is some level of appreciation,” Paul Chin, who watched the flyover, said.
“When the kids saw it, they were so excited. They were looking through our roof. We’re all very thankful for all the first responders,” said Sam Shihadeh as he was with his young children.
Outside of Sibley one neighbor was so inspired, she decided to leave a sign behind that reads: “Healthcare Workers, Our Heroes.” She taped the poster to the brick Sibley Memorial sign.
“I actually heard on the radio this morning a pilot from, I think it was the Thunderbirds talking, and he said usually people look up and salute us. But today we’re saluting them, you know, the healthcare workers, and I thought that was really cool. I didn’t have enough room to write we salute you, but I was trying to do that,” said Natalie Hawkins, who also told FOX 5 she brought snacks for the hospital staff and is collecting PPE.
The Thunderbirds and Blue Angels flew over Atlanta after hitting the Washington D.C. area. Both flight teams were flying in formation between just over a thousand to 16-hundred feet.
Those who came to Sibley tried to maintain their distance or keep to their cars. Not everyone wore masks, as area officials recommended.
Some children were seen poking out of the sunroofs to get a glimpse of the action.