2010 Warrior Games Begin

 
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100510-A-7377C-008 More warriors than wounded... As I said in my post last week, all this week I will be attending the Warrior Games in Colorado Springs at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Last night we had the opening ceremony. Yeah, I got a bit choked up. Actually a lot. But, thankfully I wasn't the only one, as around 1300 folks showed up to watch the opening ceremony. The Pentagon Channel doesn't have their video up yet, and I am a one man band here right now until my photographer arrives, but the great folks at KKTV were kind enough to share the video. So, without further ado (as Warner Wolf might say): Let's go to the video tape! Unfortunately the wind was too strong for the paratroops to jump in with the flags like intended, but I got a chance to talk to one of the riders who brought the flags in from Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, the USS Arizona and Landstuhl. The flags were ridden in by bikers, and one of them was my friend from the VFW Riders in Colorado who was so instrumental in helping us with the COP Keating stuff. Was great seeing some of the guys from that unit, and finding out that they will be home soon. But that story is of course for another day. I woke up this morning to find a copy of the Gazette newspaper out in front of the door of my hotel room, with some coverage of the games. As I looked at the picture, I realized somehow my giant grape made it into the picture. When I went down to breakfast a young lady was eating alone and looking at the picture. For some reason I mentioned that that was my head in the picture. Turns out her fiancee, a Coast Guard member is one of the competitors. He's going to be competing this afternoon, I believe in Volleyball, and I am going to talk to the two of them about their experiences. Turns out that they were both actually injured in a car accident, and had gone through recovery together. She was quite proud of him and excited to be here. I also saw the young lady that I posted about in my other blog posting, SSG Pearsall, but I didn't get a chance to talk to her since I didn't want to interrupt her day. But I read some more about her, and as she is a) from Charleston, SC where I went to college, and am heading this weekend, and b) because she is now a veteran working on veterans issues in Charleston, including helping our homeless brothers and sisters, I am very eager to see if I can get an interview with her. For some seemingly inexplicable reason, competition today doesn't start until 5 pm, so I might not get an update to you today. Thought I would head out and see the sites around Colorado Springs, and get a feel for the area. It is absolutely stunning out here, especially for a guy who spent most of his life in the relative flatlands of the Berkshires in Mass and now living in the utterly flat Indiana. A drive up Pikes Peak and a visit to Cripple Creek are on the agenda assuming the snow misses us as the weather guessers are currently suggesting. And yes, the only reason I am going to Cripple Creek is because I like The Band's wonderful song by that name.
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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.