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Paraplegic veteran surprises bride by standing for couple’s first dance

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PicMonkey CollageFISHERS, Ind. — A paraplegic war veteran gave his new bride a big wedding day surprise when he stood up for their very first dance as husband and wife. And on Veterans Day their story, pictures and video of the dance spread like wildfire across the internet.

According to FOX 4 sister station, FOX 59, Sgt. Joe Johnson, 27, who served in Afghanistan, suffered a spinal cord injury during a motorcycle accident not long after returning from overseas. Johnson suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and used the rush of riding motorcycles as a way to cope with his condition. The accident left him without feeling below his chest. He now uses a wheelchair at all times.

His new wife, Michelle, is a wedding planner and planned their big day, but a special surprise from Johnson and his groomsmen remained a secret until their reception, which took place in June.

Watch the video, taken by Jennifer Traynor, of the dance (story continues below):


The wedding photographer, Jennifer Davis, of LinneaLiz Photography, captured the special and very emotional moment between the two. She told FOX 59 that Johnson’s bride believe what she was seeing.

“When Michelle walked in the whole room was quiet, she had no idea what was going on. She saw Joey standing and she had a giant smile on her face which quickly turned to tears. Everyone was in tears,” Davis said.

Johnson and groomsmen created a harness that allowed him to stand for the couple’s first dance.

“Joey had been planning the dance for months and having his military groomsman literally supporting him added even more to the emotion in the room. The dance was a beautiful moment to not only capture but to experience,” recalled Davis.

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