SMYRNA, Tenn. (WZTV) — A fighter jet to honor a fallen pilot arrived at the Smyrna Airport Thursday.The jet will be part of a memorial for Captain Jeff Kuss, the Blue Angels Pilot who died in a crash last June.
“We have a house here in Smyrna, they fly right over,” Smyrna Resident, Erin Anderson said. “Our house shakes so every year when they come we all get so excited like the first time we’ve ever seen them.”
Last June, excitement turned to heartbreak when Kuss crashed on training flight for the Great Tennessee Air Show.
“All of a sudden I heard my grandma go ‘what?!’ and we all ran downstairs and that’s when they told us the news,” Zayleigh Anderson, 10, said.
The jet will be the centerpiece of a memorial honoring Kuss.
“I was thinking last night about his children, I hope when his children become adults they’ll come to this memorial and know how much we cared about their dad,” Smyrna Mayor Mary Esther Reed said.
Kuss is a man most here didn’t know but he’ll be remembered for generations to come.
“He’s one of our American heroes,” Meredith Warner, 10, said.
“I’d like to celebrate all the American heroes in the world,” Madden Warner, 6, said.
“My mom loves the Blue Angels, so she always wants to do something with the Blue Angels and I wanted to know what the Blue Angels were like,” Anderson said.
So far, business owners and residents have raised nearly $700,000 for the Kuss Memorial set to open in Lee Victory Park next Spring.