Last Saturday I volunteered to cheer on the veterans who participated in the Soldier Ride that was put on by the Wounded Warrior Project and was held in Rose Haven, Maryland. I thought it would be a good way to give back to the community and I have relatives who were or are currently serving in the military. (One uncle and one cousin served in the Army. One nephew and another cousin are currently serving in the Navy. I also have a former brother-in-law who served in the Army for a few years back in the 1990's and he was sent to the Balkans as a peacekeeper during the war in Bosnia.)
I also have empathy with those who can't use their limbs any more because I suffered through a hip replacement surgery in 2008 and hip revision surgery in 2011 and I know what it's like to be unable to move as much as you want because you're in too much pain or the offending joint is too stiff and just won't cooperate. I am grateful for the two surgeries because the alternative would've been to give up walking entirely.
So I woke up very early in the morning and made the hour-long commute so I would arrive just before the start of the Soldier Ride. I even managed to take a few photos with my smartphone camera.
Rose Haven is a very picturesque town on the Chesapeake Bay, which provided lots of lovely photo taking opportunity before the Soldier Ride began.
More photos after the jump...
The participants in the Soldier Ride gathered together at the start of the ride.
There were different kind of bikes available to the veterans that catered to their disabilities.
The participating veterans do some warm up exercises before getting on their bikes.
And they’re off! The veterans begin the Soldier Ride.
My role was to cheer them on as they started their ride along with other volunteers. It was a pretty cool experience and I would do it again. (There's a really good story about the Soldier Ride along with interviews with some of the participants on NPR's site. There's also a USA Today story about how the Soldier Ride's participants were invited to meet President Obama at the White House. That's great that they were given such an opportunity since they have sacrificed a lot for this country.) Unfortunately I couldn't stay to cheer them as they reached the finish line two hours later because I had another appointment and I had to make an hour's drive plus a Metro ride to my next destination. As I was driving away I came upon some slow traffic that resulted from the Soldier Ride. I took advantage of the stopped traffic to take a couple of final pictures.