Vice President Biden Kicks Off Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride at White House

Apr 28, 2010 2:25pm

 ABC News’ Karen Travers reports: Under bright blue skies at the White House this morning, Vice President Joe Biden kicked off this year’s Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride with words of appreciation and encouragement. “We admire you. We owe you. And now, we’re going to get you started,” the vice president said before giving the signal to his wife Jill to blow the air horn to kick off the ride. The Bidens, along with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, welcomed 28 wounded service members to the White House South Lawn this morning for the start of the annual ride, which is part of the Wounded Warrior Project that provides rehabilitation opportunities for wounded vets and works to raise awareness of the challenges they face in their recovery. The four-day cycling event will take the riders through Washington DC, Baltimore, Andrews Air Force Base and Annapolis. “You define who we are as a country. You’re the heart and the soul and the spine — the spine of this country,” Biden told the race participants before they started their ride on the White House’s driveway.
The vice president said that the injured service members “not only let us know what we should be, you’re showing us that we can be anything we want to be.” Several of the riders were double amputees, seated on bikes that had hand cranks to power it forward. Eric Edmundson, who was badly wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq in October 2005, rode in a camouflage motorcycle side car, driven by his father Ed. Ted Wade, who lost an arm and suffered a traumatic brain injury when his Humvee was hit by an IED in 2004, rode a racing-style bike. The riders did two loops on the White House driveway before embarking on the first day of their ride.
“As you circle this lawn and ride out of the White House gate, know that we will be cheering for you every mile of your journey,” said Dr. Jill Biden. Before the start of the race, the Bidens greeted each participant in the White House’s Map Room, offering words of encouragement and thanks for their service. National Security Advisor Gen. Jim Jones was spotted at the event sporting a black and magenta warm up suit. While he was not on a bike this morning, Jones will be taking part in event over the weekend, the vice president said.

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