BRUNSWICK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Friday was dress rehearsal for the Great State of Maine Air Show at Brunswick Landing, so Landing managers teamed up with the American Legion to thank some very deserving people.

About 100 military veterans and Gold Star families, who have lost loved ones in the service, were given a cookout and front row seats to the performance.

"We wanted to do something for veterans," said Steve Levesque, executive director of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, which manages the former Navy base.

He said the Legion contacted veterans and MRRA reached out to Gold Star families. Among them were Michelle and Ken Anderson of Millinocket whose daughter, an Army chief warrant officer, died two years ago.

Michelle Anderson said this was the first Gold Star event they had attended, and it was clearly one with a strong military presence.

"I was kind of worried it might be traumatic or upsetting but it's really not, it’s nice," she said.

Veterans said they loved seeing the military planes in action. Navy retiree Larry LaRochelle said he spent a career as an aircraft mechanic, including tours at Brunswick and at Pensacola, Florida, where the Blue Angels are based. He said the show brought back lots of memories.

"After all those years, it gets in your blood," LaRochelle said, as a big C-130 cargo plane taxied behind him.

The air show performs to the general public Saturday and Sunday.