MIAMI – The U.S. Navy Blue Angels buzzed through our skies on Friday afternoon to honor healthcare heroes on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
The F/A-18 Hornet aircraft flew from Boca Raton at 1 p.m., traveled south over Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood and then continued over Miami and down to Homestead. They then turned north over the western part of South Florida, flying over numerous hospitals throughout the 25-minute demonstration.
If you missed it, watch a replay of our live coverage below:
WATCH LIVE: Blue Angels fly over South Florida to salute healthcare workers
Watch live as the U.S. Navy Blue Angels fly from Boca Raton through Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Miami and other spots in South Florida as they pay tribute to healthcare workers at various South Florida hospitals.Posted by WPLG Local 10 on Friday, May 8, 2020
The flyover by the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron was part of “Operation America Strong,” a national tour intended to “honor and show support for those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, and salute healthcare and essential workers.”
“Just the tribute that uplifts you and makes you feel great and tells us that people really care about us for helping out,” said Johnny Karpiak, a trauma nurse practitioner who enjoyed the show.
Kerry Cabrera, a Broward Health nurse, added: “We need all the encouragement to get through all the difficult days.”
Wendy Stewart, the chief nursing officer at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, had said her staff could hardly contain their excitement after learning about the flyover earlier in the week.
“It gives you goosebumps, right? I mean, everybody is excited about it,” she said.
[RELATED STORY: Healthcare workers say seeing the Blue Angels was a morale booster]
The Blue Angels also flew over Jacksonville on Friday.
“I think the whole concept of bringing back patriotism and bringing us all together, the Blue Angels represent that,” says Mickey Markoff, executive producer of the National Salute to America’s Heroes. “Everybody gets excited to see our military Blue Angels in action. But it think there’s probably a big sense of appreciation that they’re coming down here specifically to say thanks. And, by the way, those healthcare professionals truly do deserve it.”
The Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, were supposed to be flying over Miami Beach as part of the Hyundai Air & Sea Show on Memorial Day weekend, but that was canceled because of the pandemic.
However, the National Salute to America’s Heroes has introduced an initiative called “Salute 365” to recognize local healthcare professionals and first responders fighting the COVID-19 outbreak and risking their own safety to care for members of the community.
The NSAH is seeking nominations for four heroes who will be awarded 2020 Hyundai Sonatas on Memorial Day in recognition of their service.
For more information, or to nominate someone, visit USASalute.com.