Special Needs Day opens up Arctic Thunder to everyone

Published: Jun. 29, 2018 at 4:34 PM AKDT
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Tens of thousand of people are expected to attend

over the weekend on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

On Friday, pilots and crews were busy rehearsing as a small group of guests looked on.

Col. Chris Niemi, Commander of the 3rd Wing at JBER, says Friday's rehearsal allows people who may not feel comfortable among the weekend crowds, or who couldn't visit Saturday and Sunday, to see the dazzling maneuvers performed by the U.S. Air force Thunderbirds.

Niemi says JBER partnered with more than 30 charities and 100 families to organize the day's events. There were people with reduced mobility and members of the Dept. of Defense in the crowd.

There were also some older veterans, including some from the Anchorage Pioneer Homes. "Many of them enjoy coming back to remember some of their experiences, maybe share them with children," Niemi said.

The story was filmed and edited by Channel 2 photojournalist Mike Nederbrock.