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COLUMBIA - Thousands of people withstood the heat Saturday to support the U.S. armed forces and honor veterans at the 30th annual Memorial Day weekend air show.

Betty Chevalier, a senior airman in the U.S. Air Force, described it as seeing the past, present and future all together as she watched both veterans interact with actives and actives meet children.

"It's amazing meeting kids who want to know about the aircraft and my job and then talking to the veterans who have been with it and have a relation with it," Chevalier said.

She said it's a humbling experience thanking veterans for their service. Chevalier also said it's important for the community to get the chance to see all of the behind-the-scenes work of a pilot. 

"It's important to come out and showcase that it's not just a pilot and a plane," she said. "We're a team that is a family and comes together and makes every mission happen."  

There was plenty for the crowd to do with various activities, food trucks, tours of stationed aircrafts and, of course, watching pilots perform tricks in the air. 

While watching the aircrafts was a crowd pleaser, it was more than an air show for some.

Major General Arnold Fields said events like these are important for both veterans and those currently serving so they can see how much support they have. 

"I try to be independent, but I'm human also," Fields said. "So, I like the occasional pat on the back or an occasional thank you."

Fields, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and Chevalier both agreed there is a shared ground amongst all men and women who have served or are serving in the armed forces.

"There's a special bond because we all go through a special process... but we all know we have gone through some tough times," Fields said. "And that is the one thing that we have in common." 

The theme of the show was "Three Decades of Honoring and Remembering." There were over 20 aircrafts and parachute teams from the U.S. Army and Canadian Armed Forces.

The event runs during the entire Memorial Day weekend, and has another show from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Columbia Regional Airport.

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