Great Tennessee Air Show continues minus Blue Angels

Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss (Courtesy: WKRG)

SMYRNA, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Great Tennessee Air Show in Smyrna continued as planned Saturday minus the Blue Angels.

The team was supposed to perform in the show Saturday and Sunday but decided to pull out after Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss died when his jet crashed on Thursday.

PHOTOS: U.S. Navy Blue Angels jet crash

Nearly 7,000 tickets were sold for Saturday’s event. A portion of those proceeds will go toward a fund that was set up for Kuss’ family.

The rest of the show went on as planned, a decision officials said was “the right thing to do” in order to honor the fallen pilot.

News 2 spoke with several attendees who agreed. Many say Kuss’ death hit close to home for them, including airshow volunteers from a group called the Blue Star Mothers.

Each of them have children who serve in the military.

“It was incredibly difficult, it broke my heart. My first thought was of Capt. Kuss’ family. His wife, his children, his entire family – his mother, his father – all the crew and all of his coworkers,” said Laura Defilippo.

Alicia Hovies said the death of Kuss brought back painful memories. Her son died three years ago in Korea while serving as a pilot in the Air Force.

“It’s still very difficult for me whenever I hear of a passing,” explained Hovies. “I remember the moment I found out about losing my son, so I really feel for the family.”

On Friday, the Blue Angels’ flight leader thanked the hundreds and thousands of supporters in Middle Tennessee and across the nation, saying the team is “overwhelmed by support and love.”

Click here for complete coverage of the Blue Angels crash.

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