Two-hundred and fifty wounded soldiers and their families sat in reverent silence among statues of fellow warriors Joseph Wheeler and Sam Houston, listening to a U.S. Armed Forces representative and House Speaker John Boehner Wednesday afternoon. Their service dogs, many of which were also wounded, and children, stood with them in support.
For ten days, the warriors representing all branches of the US military and the British Armed Forces, will compete in the Department of Defense Warrior Games — from June 19th – June 29th, in Quantico, VA — which is sponsored by the Wounded Warrior Project. Today’s medal count has the Army leading by five medals, but with five days left, it’s still anyone’s game.
The soldiers were gathered as guests of Speaker John Boehner, and some were seated in wheelchairs, some were standing. Some of their injuries were critical, such as missing limbs, but some were less obvious. If not in a service uniform, almost all were in shirts identifying their branch of service.
The games consist of track and field, swimming, shooting, sitting volleyball, archery, wheelchair basketball, cycling, and wheelchair rugby, and are designed to accommodate the injuries that soldiers have suffered in their service to the country.
Steve Nardizzi, CEO of the Wounded Warrior Project, said about Wounded Warrior’s platinum sponsorship of the games, “one of the four programmatic pillars of WWP focuses on helping injured service members pursue a healthy lifestyle along their road to recovery. Adaptive sports, like those taking place at the Warrior Games, play a large role in achieving this goal.”
U.S. Army Reserve Spc. Sydney Davis told the DoD that “it felt amazing” to be competing in the games after her injuries. Davis is one of the 200+ soldiers whose injuries haven’t stopped her from fighting. Even though the battle has changed, the soldiers’ passion for victory stays strong.