9:01 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’ll tell you what: Talk about recovery. Folks, welcome to the White House. It sounds corny, but this is your house.
And I want to thank you, Danielle, for the introduction and the extraordinary, extraordinary service to our country and for your remarkable devotion to your fellow veterans and wounded warriors.
Talk about getting up; my dad used to have an expression. Said, “If you get knocked down, just get up.” Just get up. Well, it’s a lot easier to say than do, especially in the circumstances many of you’ve been through.
You know, as Jill said, you all — and it’s not hyperbole — you’re a little inspiration to the nation. I hope you don’t forget that.
And you’re joined by — we’re joined by the Vice President and the First Gentleman, Doug and Kamala, today and several members of Congress as well.
You know, of course, we’re honored to have with us the outstanding military veterans, families, and caregivers who stood by veterans throughout everything thick and thin. Jill and I used to spend a lot of time when I was Vice President and then when our son was ill — Army — over at Walter Reed, looking at the families — looking at the families and the caregivers who made such a gigantic difference in the attitude and the recovery of those veterans.
You know, from your parents to your children and your siblings, to your battle buddies: I want to thank everyone from the Wounded Warrior Project and countless other organizations and tireless advocates on your behalf — you know, wounded and injured service members and veterans.
When I was Vice President, I would always look forward to this event. We’d have the event over the VPR as well as come over here with the President. And it always, always mattered.
Riders come from every corner of America, from all cuts of the same cloth though, all bounded by a common sense of duty, honor, service, resilience, courage, optimism, and a remarkable group of people. You are America. You are everything America wants to be.
Watching it in this year’s — watching this year as President, I’m prouder than ever to be standing with you all.
And the Biden family — to us, it’s personal. We’ve always been inspired by all of you who, like our son, put your country above yourself to protect our way of life.
This year, we have 7 active-duty riders and 21 veterans. Many of you come from — from a war abroad, only to fight a battle of recovery at home. And it’s equally as difficult; in some cases, more difficult: learning to walk again, to pick up your child again, to manage the effects of traumatic brain injury, to cope with post-traumatic stress that occurs. And it’s not unusual.
I want all our veterans to know we’re so inspired by you. We’re in awe of the sacrifices you’ve made on behalf of all of us to defend our flag and to reach this moment.
You know, you’re the best America has to offer. That’s not hyperbole. You’re the best America has to offer. You embody the soul and the spirit of the nation. As I like to say, you’re the very spine of America. You’re the spine of this country. You’re who makes us what we are.
The riders here today and your families and caregivers, we can never thank you enough. And that sounds like a trite statement, but it’s literal. We can never thank you enough.
But remember: On this ride today, you’re not alone. You have the support of a grateful nation behind you, today and every day. We’re here to help — help each other and help you cross the finish line together.
May God bless you all. May God protect our troops. And to all — all the caregivers, again: Thank you, thank you, thank you.
You know, Docs — I used to say — read all the time, “Docs let you live. Caregivers and nurses make you want to live.” And it makes a gigantic difference. So, thank you, thank you, thank you.
So, may God bless you all. May God protect our troops.
And I got a horn here, somewhere. I’ll wait until you get on your bike. I’m going to stand out here though. (Applause.)
9:06 A.M. EDT