CHARLOTTE -- A busy Saturday for American Airlines across the U.S. as they flew 1600 children and spouses to Texas for Snowball Express. The yearly holiday tradition brings together military families whose loved ones died after 9/11. We caught up with folks leaving from Charlotte Douglas International Airport. 

"Its very important. Just keeps the memories of her dad alive and ensures he was appreciated and how special he was," said Brandy Parker of daughter Kaidynn. "She also gets to meet other family members who have experienced the same thing."

NC Patriot Guard Rider Tim Smith was a greeter at the airport - he says he's gotten to know the Snowball Families year after year.

"Gives them an opportunity to not feel different from other kids. Gives them a time every year with other kids in the same situation they're in. It's a healing process," said Smith.

The Dallas/Fort Worth-based holiday event features kid-friendly concerts, magicians and even a Walk of Gratitude. Snowball Express runs through Wednesday.