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Thousands gather to watch the Blue Angels

EL CENTRO, Calif. – Thousands of people crowded El Centro Naval Air Force facility for a chance to watch the Blue Angels. Besides watching the elite flight demonstration team perform their aerial tricks, there were vintage aircraft on exhibit.

18-year-old Emma McNay said it’s the Blue Angels fault she’s there. And she thanks them for it.

“I want to be a pilot when I get older,” Emma said.

She has not missed an air show as long as she can remember.

“My whole dream of becoming a pilot started with watching the Blue Angels fly,” Emma said.

She was part of several groups displaying vintage aircraft at Saturday’s event.

Mark Russell, with the Commemorative Air Force Wing of the Camarillo World War II Museum, said, “We get to put the aircraft out for people to see, and touch, and get to see what the historical values are.”

Crowds of over 35,000 thousand people make it an all-day outing.

“One of the best things we can do is to show these people that they mean the world to us. And that we’re willing to support them,” Emma said.

People come to show their appreciation.

Michael McNay, Emma’s father, said, “Without the military we wouldn’t have the country that we have. The military keeps us safe and it’s been keeping us safe ever since the revolution.”

Emma said the hellcat aircraft has history with the blue angels.

“It was the first aircraft used by the blue angels, which you’ll see later today,” Emma said.

And she admires the PBJ aircraft as well.

“This aircraft was cool because not only was it a bomber, but it also could do attack runs. It could strafe ground units,” Emma said.

She said events like this one can be inspiring and life-changing.

“The reason I wanted to become a pilot is because I came to an air show,” Emma concluded.