11:03 A.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It is my great honor to join everyone here today.
And I will say that, Mark, you really inspire all of us. And the service that you have given to our nation, fighting as all of you have with the best fighting forces in the world to support and defend all that we as Americans hold dear, is some of the most noble work that any human being could ever do. (Applause.)
It takes a very special human being to step up and say that they are prepared to serve, knowing — it’s not theoretical — what might come in terms of sacrifice to defend their nation.
And I’ve traveled around the world. I have met with leaders of the countries who are partners and who are allies. And to a one, they always speak with a deep sense of admiration about the service members who serve in the United States military.
They watch us. They look to us to figure out how they can train, how they can lead, how they can inspire, and, when necessary, how they must fight. And doing it all the while with a sense of purpose and deep commitment to our nation.
There is no truer patriot than the men and women who have served our nation in this way. And all that they have sacrificed and their families in dedication to what we as Americans hold dear.
I’m so honored to be with you, Mark. Thank you. (Applause.)
And as the Second Gentleman said, President Biden and Dr. Biden send their love and renew always their commitment to our veterans.
As you all know, throughout their lives and careers of service, they have always put our veterans at the forefront of their priorities in terms of their service to our nation. And so we send you their best, but you know that they’re always with you, because they’ve always been with you. (Applause.)
To the leaders of the Wounded Warrior Project who are sitting in the front row over here, I want to thank you for all that you do. You have long days where you just are tireless, in terms of stepping up to make sure that we as a nation do everything that we have a responsibility and a duty to do on behalf of our wounded warriors.
I thank you for your service and for your leadership. Thank you. And, CEO Mike Linnington, thank you. (Applause.)
And, Mike, I have to say, you’re a real partner to our administration. We will talk a bit from time to time about the importance of what happened in terms of the passage of the PACT Act. And it is the families who are here, our wounded warriors, our leaders who are the fuel and were the push and the inspiration behind getting that done. So I thank you for that as a most recent example of your leadership. Thank you. (Applause.)
So, to our wounded warriors and to our riders, you represent the best of who we are.
You know, I have traveled. I’ve been to the DMZ in Korea. I was aboard ships in the Indo-Pacific, at SOCOM, at CENTCOM in Florida, at NE- — NATO’s eastern flank, and I’ve met with our troops there.
And you all represent, again, the best of what we do. You inspire Americans and you inspire people around the world. And today, you continue being a source of inspiration with this ride.
You know, everyone here understands that when we look at our veterans, we thank them always for their service and their sacrifice. But their service doesn’t end when they leave the field, when they come home, because that’s the nature of who they are as individuals.
They’re very special people as individuals that then becomes somebody who chooses to serve and then becomes a veteran.
They’re people who understand the importance of internal fortitude and strength and self-determination. You show that in every way. And when you come back, you show it even more.
For people — anyone who has faced a difficult time or hardship, who have suffered wounds that are physical and those that are emotional, we often look to and point out as an example our veterans of how people can overcome in a way that puts them back out there to compete and to fight and to stand tall and strong, whatever might be some of the physical limitations that they experience.
This is who you all are.
And so, we have with us today, for example, a veteran who returned from her deployment and found healing through sports, and who will soon compete in the Air Force Warrior Games. (Applause.)
We have with us an active-duty service member whose battle with mental health challenges inspires him to serve as a mentor for young children. (Applause.)
We have with us a veteran who, after 30 years of service, founded and now runs a nonprofit that works to bring home those missing in action. (Applause.)
This ride is a reminder of how far you’ve come and how far you’re going. And we are so inspired to watch it all.
So, with that, I will say that the President and I believe that we collectively have a sacred obligation to care for our veterans and their families and all those who care for them.
And that is why we are so proud to have done what we are doing together, including, as I said, the PACT Act. And let us continue on this journey, knowing that we’re all in it together.
And with that, I will say that it’s time for us to begin our ride. There we are. (Applause.)
END 11:10 A.M. EDT