Crowds flock to National Mall for Blue Angels and Thunderbirds flyover

According many social media posts showing large crowds, Americans flocked to the National Mall in Washington to watch the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds flyover honoring essential workers. CNN's Sarah Westwood has more.

Posted: May 4, 2020 6:31 AM
Updated: May 4, 2020 6:31 AM

Scores of people descended upon the National Mall on Saturday as the US Navy's Blue Angels and the Air Force's Thunderbirds performed a flyover to honor first responders on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

The nation's capital is under a stay-at-home order to slow down the spread of the virus but that didn't stop crowds from gathering between the US Capitol and the Washington Monument.

Both the Blue Angels and the District of Columbia's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Office requested that residents refrain from leaving their homes to see the flyover.

"Residents in DC will be able to see the flyover from the safety of their home & should maintain all social distancing guidelines during this flyover," the emergency management office tweeted. "Please refrain from traveling to landmarks, the National Mall, hospitals & gathering in lg. groups to view flyovers."

Many people were practicing social distancing and some wore masks but sidewalks around the mall were crowded, according to CNN journalists at the event.

People stood mostly distant from each other from the Lincoln Memorial to the US Capitol building and groups were more spread in some areas.

CNN has reached out to DC Mayor Muriel Bowser's office.

The Blue Angels and Thunderbirds conducted formation flights over Washington, Baltimore and Atlanta on Saturday.

"During today's tribute, viewers were encouraged to watch the flyover online from the safety of their home quarantine and asked to refrain from traveling to landmarks, hospitals and gathering in large groups," an Air Force official told CNN.

They are the US military's flight demonstration squadrons, and this is the second joint flyover mission being conducted to salute the health care workers, first responders, military and other essential workers risking their lives during this pandemic.

The first joint flight was conducted on Tuesday across New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The joint operation is part of a series of multi-city flyovers being conducted over the next two weeks.

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