Breaking News
More () »

Arkansans reunite with loved ones for Thanksgiving

4.51 million Americans are expected to fly for Thanksgiving. As friends and family receive their loved ones, they're reminded of what they're thankful for.

HIGHFILL, Ark. — As millions of Americans travel for Thanksgiving, friends and family are reminded of what they're thankful for as their loved ones come home.

Over 54 million Americans are expected to travel this Thanksgiving, just shy of pre-pandemic numbers. At XNA and other airports across the nation, 4.5 million flyers are expected. While millions are worried about making it to their destinations, once they've made it to their destination airport, many are embraced by family and friends. 

Cindy Hankins of Bentonville is an educator at Providence Academy in Rogers. She explained that as she brought nearly a dozen international students to Northwest Arkansas, only one actually lived with her, eventually becoming a part of her family. 

"She wanted to come spend Thanksgiving with us this year. So I'm here to pick her up," said Hankins. "We've been texting each other for two weeks counting down the days."

The student, Larken Liu of China, explained that it was a long time coming for their reunion. Hankins explained that this reunion would be extra special as Liu couldn't travel often between China and the US due to COVID.

"This is like a second home to me," said Liu. "It means a lot to me like I came here for high school and then I did this the first time I've been back like in like six years."

Zulymar Garcia moved to Fort Smith Arkansas with her husband to pastor a church two years ago. She said that since moving here, she hadn't spent a Thanksgiving with her mother in Orlando. In that time, her father passed away last year. On Wednesday, she surprised her children by receiving their grandmother at XNA.

"It's been a long time since we've had Thanksgiving together," said Garcia. "As Latinos, we're a very tight-knit family. We're a small family on my side. And it's very important to have this time together as a family to spend time together and love one another."

Friday through Sunday after Thanksgiving are expected to be busy. Flyers can expect long lines, so prepare extra time for their trip. Travel experts suggested travelers leave early in the morning to get ahead of congestion.

Follow 5NEWS on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Download the 5NEWS app on your smartphone:

Stream 5NEWS 24/7 on the 5+ app: How to watch the 5+ app on your streaming device

To report a typo or grammatical error, please email KFSMDigitalTeam@tegna.com and detail which story you're referring to.

Before You Leave, Check This Out