Sixteen family members of fallen military depart on the Snowball Express

ST. LOUIS - On Saturday, sixteen military family members joined the special group of more than 1,600 children and spouses of fallen U.S. military members and departed St. Louis on an all-expense-paid journey to Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, for the 12th annual Snowball Express.

While many look forward to the holiday season with excitement and anticipation of times with family and friends, the holidays can be difficult for those who have lost a loved one — especially the families of our fallen military.

Snowball Express is a nonprofit organization with the goal of “Serving the Children of Our Fallen Military Heroes.” Snowball Express is bringing hope and new happy memories to the children of military heroes who have died while on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001.

As the official airline of Snowball Express, American Airlines is providing the majority of the air travel, and all flight crews and hundreds of team member volunteers are donating their time to participate in this special program. Eleven chartered American aircraft will depart from numerous cities — including St. Louis where the families will depart to DFW.

While in the Dallas/Fort Worth-area, the families will participate in a series of activities starting with a Texas-sized welcome, including: A Walk of Gratitude honoring their sacrifice, a “knight” of jousting fun at Medieval Times and a private concert by Academy Award-nominated actor Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band.

Before departing from STL, families will enjoy a send-off celebration with special guest appearances from the Freedom Riders, Patriot Guards and Alton High School ROTC.