Servicemembers Send Wounded Cyclists Off At White House
(May 1, 2010)
|WASHINGTON, April 28, 2010 – Men and women in uniform from
across the services gathered on the White House's south lawn
today to give wounded servicemembers a send-off as they
began a bike trip from the nation's capital to Annapolis,
|Wounded Warriors participate in the White House to the Lighthouse Challenge, the
fourth such trek hosted by the Wounded Warrior Project April 27, 2010, in
Washington D.C. U.S. Air Force photo by Andy Morataya)
The White House to the Lighthouse Challenge, the fourth such
trek hosted by the Wounded Warrior Project, is a four-day
ride taken by servicemembers who have been injured in
combat. Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, Defense
Secretary Robert M. Gates and Veterans Affairs Secretary
Eric K. Shinseki met with the troops before they mounted
their bikes and took a ceremonial lap around the south lawn.|
The vice president spoke to the riders before they began
their ride, reminding them that while everyone is grateful
for their sacrifice, nobody can know the extent of what
“What's even more unfathomable is your courage,” Biden said.
“You define -- I mean this literally -- who we are as a
country. You're the heart, the soul and the spine of this
country. You aren't just showing us what we should be; you
show us that we can be anything we want to be.”
The audience for the send-off was composed primarily of
fellow servicemembers from around the Washington area who
came to support their brothers and sisters in uniform.
Maj. Greg Johnson, a Marine who works in the office of the
secretary of the Navy, is an avid bicyclist. He jumped at
the opportunity to cheer on wounded warriors as they showed
how well they've adapted to their injuries, he said, adding
that he stood in awe of the riders, some of whom were double
amputees on special bikes with hand pedals.
“It'd be hard enough to ride to Annapolis with my full
capacity,” he said, pointing to his legs. “For them, it's
quite a task.”
Johnson said it was good to see the vice president and other
government officials in attendance showing their
appreciation to troops.
“I always appreciate opportunities politicians and officials
we've elected into office take to show their support for
servicemembers, especially the wounded warriors in this
case,” he said.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Robert Mellott, a soldier from the 12th
Aviation Battalion, said it is vitally important for
servicemembers to meet and get to know their wounded peers.
That way, he said, they can learn what it means to wear a
“It reminds everyone in the service what we're here for --
the sacrifices we make for our country,” he said. “It's what
we do, it's our job. People get to live their lives how they
want because of the sacrifices made by the people riding
Air Force Sgt. Erin Everhardt said she came to the send-off
because she wants to support her fellow servicemembers as
much as she can. Her unit, the 11th Logistics Readiness
Squadron at Bolling Air Force Base, here, volunteered their
morning to visit the bikers as they prepared to leave.
“I thought it was a great opportunity to show our support
for them,” Everhardt said. “It was really nice to come see
The riders' trip will take them through Washington to
Baltimore and then to Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Station
Washington in Maryland, before they head to Annapolis.
By Ian Graham|
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity
American Forces Press Service
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