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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Will Rogers World Airport became a gathering hub ahead of Thanksgiving, reuniting family and friends who are coming together as the holiday season begins.

“This little guy right here, lights up your morning every morning. Yeah, you miss it when he’s gone,” said Thomas Bass, hugging his young son, Tucker, after he spent two weeks visiting family in San Antonio. “We’re just blessed to have our family here, and family is really important to us.“

“I haven’t seen her in about three months, so I’m really excited to just spend Thanksgiving with her,” said Ranee Nettey, who was waiting on her sister to arrive.

“It’s wonderful, especially with, you know, people have been vaccinated. We can visit each other,” said Karin Gordon.

Out-of-town parents, like Gordon, have been flying in to see their children. They told KFOR they’re hoping this year’s holiday will look very different than last year, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When COVID first started, our son came to us and we were all masked. So, he slept in his tent on top of his car,” said Gordon. “We had all the meals outside.”

Photo goes with story
A loving, long-awaited hug.

Chris Carlyle told News 4 he’s coming from Orlando, Fla. Dressed in his cowboy hat, he said he’s ready to see the Oklahoma Standard after not seeing his brother for nearly a year.

“You know, I got my country side in me. My brother works for the Army branch out here. We’re gonna have a good Thanksgiving. They just gave him a nice house near the base, so, we’re going to check it out,” said Carlyle. “We’re gonna have a good Thanksgiving.”

Ranee Nettey said she’s been counting down the days until she could see her sister, Gabreilla, who’s been away at college in Georgia.

“When we dropped her off at school, I was just waiting for Thanksgiving break because I knew I would miss her so much,” said Nettey. “She’s coming from Atlanta, Ga. She’s beet at college at Emory University.

“What are you excited about the most?” News 4 asked Gabriella after she arrived. “Probably to eat for Thanksgiving and just seeing all my friends since I’ve been away at college.”

All of them said they’re just happy to surround themselves with those they care about the most.

“It’s good to be present with family, a lot of people are in the future or the present. It’s all about love and being present,” said Carlyle.

Airport officials said 5,300 people are expected to fly out this Friday and they expect Sunday to be pretty busy too.

Traffic is supposed to pick back up for Christmas around December 15th.