Hometown Hero remembers what it was like

Published 09/06 2013 05:59PM

Updated 12/12 2014 11:14AM

RANTOUL -- Earlier this week, you saw a few veterans who got to ride in an old military plane. A group called Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation let four of them go up in the air. It's part of a tour honoring veterans and farmers. For at least one of them, it was the ride of a lifetime.

"It was in perfect shape, in perfect shape. It glistens, it shines, runs perfectly."

Charles Struble says, as he soared through the sky in this 1940's Boeing Stearman, he felt right at home.

"It's just like you're with the birds."

For him, this flight and visiting Chanute Air Force Base was like going back in time. This plane was used to train military aviators in the late 30's and early 40's. Struble was a sergeant in the Army Air Force during World War II, and was a bird himself long ago.

"The first time I've ever flown in an open cockpit. Just step right on the seat."

He's just one of four veterans who got to go up in the air. They're all from the American Legion in Watseka, and got the ride from a man who just thought they deserved to do something cool.

"We live in this country the way we do because of what they did. Every veteran gets a hat."

"This is going to the next Legion meeting. Thanks so much."

"Thanks for your service."

"It's an honor."

"You're a good man."

"It's an honor."

For all these men, the days of feeling invincible are long gone. But, for one day, they got to rule the sky once again and remember what it was like.

"It just makes you feel like a king for a day."

Rides for veterans and farmers in the Midwest go through September 8. It heads to Roseburg, Oregon for September 11.

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