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Veterans get special aerial view of Huntsville ahead of Veterans Day

We spoke with one vet who told us it was his first time in the air in several years.

Posted: Nov 10, 2019 8:57 PM
Updated: Nov 11, 2019 9:44 AM

"Kind of surreal. It's been 20 years since I've flown in such a little plane. I'm just so used to being in a military aircraft and go, go, go," said Aaron Duhon.

That was the response from a retired Army veteran who was able to be a part of Semper Fi's special group for Heroes Week. He's been in the hospital for the last eight years and has undergone nearly 70 surgeries. However, he got a special pass this week to come to Huntsville.

WAAY 31 was there when he and other vets were flown across North Alabama from the Huntsville Executive Airport. Fifty-nine veterans who were wounded during their time of service flew in one of these planes to see the 'Rocket City' from a different view.

Duhon said this meant the world to him and gave him the push he needed to continue to get better.

"It's always trying when you get injured. Your mind says you can do amazing things, but your body cannot," he said.

Duhon joined the United States Army more than 25 years ago and this was his first time getting back in a similar airplane. He was one of 58 veterans who are participating in a week-long schedule of events.

Duhon was injured in one his tours to Iraq and has been in the hospital for eight years. Sunday afternoon, when he got a chance to be in one of the seats, he said it just made him realize how thankful he was to come out of a dark place.

"You just keep going moment by moment, hour by hour and the pain is so overwhelming that it crushes you, and then, eventually, the people who love you so much won't let you fail," he said.

Semper Fi created several events for the veterans to enjoy so they could have a relaxing time leading up to a very special day.

Duhon said this is why he gets up every morning and pushes through his adversity. He said he hopes every veteran gets to feel this special and is thinking of them all.

"It just helps break the mold of isolation, insulation, depression and just breaks it," he said.

This is not the end of the events lined up for the vets. There's a special day planned for Monday and a big parade to celebrate their achievements.

Duhon said he will continue to fight the good fight and wants to thank all service members, current and former.

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