Transcript for President Obama Welcomes Participants in the Wounded Warrior Bike Rally
This is a special room. I'm Michelle Franzen in new York and Washington this hour President Obama and Vice President Biden together again. A day after this happened -- standing by to welcome participants in the wounded warrior project's. Soldier ride to the White House -- the -- seventh annual bike rally. And and then to bring attention to the men and women returning home from years of combat with physical and psychological trauma. We're joined now from the White House by ABC's correspondent Jim have a legend give me an idea what can we expect. The wounded warrior project today and the ceremony at the White House. Which are seeing right now behind me in fact is as a reduction of some of the wounded warriors. Coming out of -- to the South Lawn for the beginning of this. Of this ceremony. We'll see of course is and -- interaction between them and the president. And also the vice president. That we expect remarks and the president and we. I'm not sure whether he'll make it open -- address any other subjects they're a lot of subjects that parents including. As -- situation in the Ukraine. But we do expect him to at least. -- acknowledge these these wounded warriors. For their service and also for what they're doing today which is the living life to the fullest. But right now what's going on is an introduction of them individually as they come out of the portico there here at the White House. And certainly the need is great give me an idea how the wounded warrior project has involved over -- last decade. Buffalo last seven years they've been doing this project which is -- -- four -- rides around the country. -- -- they go on these these these bicycle -- within their whether they have -- wounds that -- that have cost them off limbs are not. They've been it would Johnston to it. Q proceeded to go right around the country. These events building their own spirit and also encouraging and motivating. Americans as video on the country. As we get ready to watch tributes like this when it comes to caring for veterans how does this administration's. Record. Well you know that it -- their. -- always been problems with a veteran's administration of Morris as far as -- slow. Response to. To the veterans -- there's a backup for a force for services. It's difficult for them to get medical services. The Obama administration has. Has said there working on it and there hasn't been a lot of criticism of it is -- -- Because they have attempted to. The focus on that it's -- -- got a new better administration. Director and and they're hoping that that some of that is. -- has been taken care of but. You know we in America has as has long had problems and taking care with veterans. Especially when it comes to medical care. And there is -- focus on that here at the White House as of acknowledgment that there's been a problem. And they are attempting to work on. Jim are watching now as some of the wounded warriors have been introduced and soon set -- soon set to speak is retired for general. Star four star general Erickson -- now the US secretary of veterans of the American an idea why. President Obama gave him that job and what kind of work -- doing taking over. Well I think it goes here earlier question that he was brought in because. Problems at the veterans administration massive complaints of a long time in the -- simple for -- medical services for psychiatric services. Scott -- this four star general retired four star general would be in fact the someone would be. More empathetic about the problems at the veterans having. And that he would focus the laser like way on those issues. It does appear as though he's made some progress. And -- we also know that first ladies -- Michelle Obama also has very. Near and dear to your -- -- -- warrior project gets an idea what's how she -- participated in this. -- just recently. Michelle Obama in and they do this. It's not that we wanted to remain know that none of the -- -- themselves to Walter Reed equities have contact with the wounded warriors wounded soldiers. The press is not invite the press is not involved. -- we know that -- there. But they don't it's not a photo outburst the -- walking around. You know for the cameras. But. I would say that about once a month the president is there. -- this -- Obama as well just. This week mrs. Obama went two Walter Reed and -- -- and then -- engaged -- -- soldiers -- who were -- And she also went. Spent some time -- there. Children and their families. That part was. Welcome -- the press and there was some adorable pictures of course of this -- Obama with the children there and then one kind of a picture of the day. Mrs. Obama having sticker and put on her basement and -- -- little -- right now idea -- -- and beautiful picture with -- little toddler. So they do spend if you spend a lot of time. And all the presidents -- George W. Bush has been a lot of time. At Walter Reed as well. And then mr. Obama goes there regularly we get notes that he's going but as I say we don't think -- music and pictures -- him interacting. Want to make sure it's not. -- -- -- -- -- -- And the people that we're seeing participated in today's ceremony or that take part in this bike -- every year they wounded warriors from just the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are we also seen older veterans -- -- Most of them are indeed from from the most recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and occasionally you'll see someone. Or older who was from the Vietnam era. Participating as well it's not close to. To anything to anybody at all all that's required is that there was some kind of injury doesn't know that occurred during combat. And that's how they sign up front in the Internet and -- to the website this morning. And what are NASA's were -- wounded. And if you were then you go to this particular place a -- sign up arrived. For these rides around the country. Which you know it it's really can design -- two. Give these wounded warriors some sense. Of camaraderie. You know -- now going -- in their units anymore. And they missed that frequently -- and they also need things to do then this also gives them purpose. Urges them to stay fit despite whatever who they might have put on disability they might -- So it's an incredible project that. That is worthy of being honored here at the White House today and -- of. Course you know the wounds the injuries coming back whether physical or psychological. Are certainly part of America's fabric now given this past decade what. Have you noticed as you have covered not only these ceremonies but also interacting with soldiers returning from war. Well the what you what you notices that you know there hasn't been an emphasis -- -- at the beginning when. When soldiers that's. Started coming home. Wounded especially from these IDs which -- -- totally different weapons and then had been used in other conflicts. Remember when I was in in Iraq covering me. Covering the war in the early days. Seeing the beginning of the -- -- -- terrible weapons. -- You know them explode in front of me within you know twenty yards -- with a -- unit of soldiers and how how violent they aren't what they do. Causing of course many head injuries. Loss of limbs. -- army is trying to adjust through the years of that by changing the kind of vehicles they're using. There to better protect. But there were so many of them came home wounded both you you both brain injuries. -- -- from this terrible. For the terrible weapons. There was used there and what I think we saw at the beginning was. An inability to deal with some of that's pain and suffering especially the psychological pain -- That was going on its head injuries and -- really understanding. But now the army -- -- Has in fact the military in fact. It's set up homes -- -- halfway houses set up places where. Many of these that wounded soldiers can readjust to. Coming back into American society. Even though of course we do we have and our own and our own -- own colleague Bob Woodruff and his foundation. I've done. Incredible amounts of work. In trying to. Help these wounded warriors get back into the system -- readjust. From that terrible war -- two terrible wars. And come back into American society. Certainly -- re -- -- here to society whether it's getting a job whether it's re acclimate into just every day life. Give me an idea of just the technology behind some of the physical injuries and how we've seen that progressed over the -- -- Well I mean. When you watch what -- his gun on the -- -- the medical world has focused on especially the brain injuries and learned so much because. Of all the damage that's been done in other cases of -- -- to. They've had to look at. And what they've done -- -- medical procedures have. Have been amazing I'm looking at my own colleague -- Bob Woodruff that's one way I can. -- -- of those who don't know the story of course that Bob Woodruff was. An anchor and reporter. You know in the -- One of those ideas went off and injured him we had a brain injury that many people thought he would never recover from but -- The combination. Medical attention that way it goes on now. In and theater people you there in Iraq and in -- Afghanistan. Has done that wonders that -- -- have many advances to save soldiers at the beginning. Say Bob Woodruff at the beginning and -- they are all sent. From there to Germany but where there -- special units that have been focusing on this before they actually get home can be many months for the vehicles -- because the immediate. The immediate cares what's it's what's mean I'm not I'm I'm not a surgeon -- medical. -- expert but I know that there's -- incredible advances. In ways that they're treating this because it had treated so often. And certainly a beautiful day there at the White House and as we're listening -- ABC's Jim -- thank you very much for joining us on this he listens to you some of the soldiers who participated in that. Wounded warriors bike -- -- -- Everything out Wednesday's line let's -- So let's -- right now -- US army. I'm help us yeah I don't. -- -- -- National Guard. -- its -- and US army. Ladies and gentlemen the president vice president of the United States the company -- secretary ericsson's second. Good morning. Most front as the vice president ladies and gentlemen welcome to 2014. -- -- love our warriors and especially to the Israeli -- ride. Thank you for your service and thank you also -- joining us all what can have over adversity -- -- You'll be -- any -- are examples of the communities you revisiting the next several days. We wish you much success. And -- continued recoveries. I don't -- -- -- is more committed to your success and won't be our president. In the past five years. Unwavering leadership. And support. Welcome to an additional items on the road and VA healthcare -- point two million veterans and eligible family members. Received an educational systems and vocational training through -- That is probably plays not -- is now over 45% since march of last year. -- homelessness. Also declined by 20%. Since 2010. The president understands. And appreciates the sacrifices. You have -- police -- for our nation. And his budgets for the reflected this understanding. Increasing by 60%. Over the past six budget request. We couldn't have a stronger -- So now ladies and Jonas my personal and professional honor. To introduce to you -- energy for the president of the United States of America Barack Obama. -- -- Or not -- but more importantly for your confidences. To our country and world news service to our veterans and -- -- wars. I also want to -- Expressed here. Has been relentless in his. Support along -- -- -- show. -- military family's very proud. Everything. -- This is an outfit. Yeah welcome him -- right when asked. Yeah this is one of its -- First don't spring when it. -- supposed to be spread. When the sort of -- comes round. Mentally it's because. Those who participate -- such an incredible inspiration to me. And World -- whoa. Yeah. Especially bodies do you -- yesterday. Who knows two tomorrow most -- -- -- that Paul told the sixty miles. To the -- yeah. Here -- The. -- -- -- Braves. And ordered the residents that. And sort of obsessed. -- -- -- Others weren't -- Here today don't -- -- -- You almost three tomorrow it was Barbara Olson. But yeah -- all. We want to thank everybody. It won't work if rebels or. The very first time. Four times -- -- When your parents. Might. There exists -- it is obvious you don't anybody. -- this. -- -- Recovered from upstate dangerous. So your network based all over. -- the law here. -- Reuters -- What's. -- -- Well. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Reflective surfaces. You -- -- Google didn't hit -- -- play here today he's your personal. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- And terrible have a yeah. Yeah. All. Later. We're both expressed breaths we'll -- He says yes you know that he got. Now we're right. So it -- -- here. -- What is next bet. Three. Every vote -- volunteers -- Washington. What -- -- succeed. -- oh warriors for side. This is personal. -- that yes. The met. -- three -- Insurgency Iraq. So you know. -- we -- -- I had she's. And -- Whether it's popular. Talking about. She's. -- -- -- -- -- And let me. -- -- -- -- -- -- She's -- recovery. Of deputy care. Helping to carry. You Jeanette. This -- first and foremost. For these front runners but this man and when it went job. We senator Jeanette and all of you who made the -- of -- for all of us. Because you inspire us inspire the country. Some of whom will be -- fresher longer -- You inspire me but your courage. And resolve your resilience and tenacity. Your optimism. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Every -- the honor of serving this country's -- energy. As long I have -- honor I will keep fighting make sure you and your families. Get the care treatment and benefits that you have earned and deserve. People ask. View to serve your country give your all major sacrifices. You've -- your hands -- stepped up. You know about -- at a bar. Especially -- were winding -- war in Afghanistan. -- handed over a decade of war. That we are standing up for you. Obligations to our veterans and the world for -- I realize. That's -- That's why we're here. Just during his -- but -- -- at all. So we vet the -- out it is spectacular day. The racers looked like -- red. Obviously through us to get this -- -- -- God bless god -- American -- it is going. -- And and yeah. There -- -- but right. Yeah. -- And they are off President Obama at the White House kicking off the latest. Wounded warrior ride -- point fourteen it is the seventh year. The warriors and soldiers returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Afghanistan. Writing. Two. Start the next phase of their recovery process this rehab ride is as it is known. Giving many of those returning with injuries whether physical or psychological giving them the confidence. And showing that they are moving on with their lives despite their injuries. And certainly. A great day for that kicking off at the White House President Obama commending all soldiers over the past decade. Participating in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan thanking them for their service and also commending them for their courage as -- Move on despite. Any injuries they sustained during that time you have been watching a special digital report I'm Michelle Franzen. You're in New York.
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