HOUSTON -

A very special flight left George Bush Intercontinental Airport Friday, hoping to bring some holiday cheer to children and families who've dealt with a life-changing loss.

The Snowball Express flew nearly 1,700 children and spouses of fallen military heroes in nine flights to Dallas for a very special weekend getaway.

For the Guerca Family, the event was very special.

"It's bittersweet for me because it will have been eight years since he passed away, so today his sons get to enjoy a day because of him and all the fallen heroes," said Patty Guereca, the wife of a fallen soldier.

Nathan Guereca was five when his father died.

"Now I know that I'm not the only person has his loved one lost I the war, I don't feel alone any more," he said.

This is the seventh year American Airlines is flying the Snowball Express that includes Santa and his elves.

Thanks to the Snowball Express, families will have three days to find some level of happiness to counterbalance the sorrow.