ANDALUSIA, Ala. (WDHN) — With Veterans Day on Thursday, Friends of Army Aviation got a head start today marking the occasion in a unique way.

Retired army pilots took to the skies over the western Wiregrass in a vintage Huey helicopter, an aircraft that was a common sight during the Vietnam War.

For a fee, civilians got the opportunity of a lifetime to fly in a Huey and to support the Friends of Army Aviation, a non-profit that uses the money raised to provide maintenance and fuel to keep on flying.

For those who fought in that controversial war, the sight and sound of a Huey is even a measure of healing, as they educate people about what they went through.

“Educate the general public in regards to what crew members experienced, in regards to what it was like to fly in a combat aircraft,” retired U.S. Army helicopter pilot Jack Holmes said.

On November 11, the Friend’s of Army Aviation helicopter will fly to south Florida to be the focal point of a Veterans Day ceremony in the city of Stuart.