Warrior Games Opening Ceremonies
And so the game have begun. I'll be heading over for the Track and Field competitions as soon as I am done posting this, but it looks like the Marine Corps is already off to a pretty good lead from what I have seen on Twitter. (You can look up the #warriorgames to get results if you are on Twitter.)
Seen above is SSG Sal Giunta lighting the torch to officially begin the games. More on him later, but first came the athletes from the five teams: Army, Navy/Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Special Operations.
Once all the Athletes had finished the parade route, we heard from a host of speakers from the DoD, the U.S. Olympic Committee, the Fisher House folks, the USO, and Deloitte, which is the main sponsor here. In particular, it was touching to hear how the Fisher House flew in all the families of the competitors through their Hero Miles program.
The torch was borne by SSG Sal Giunta, the first living Medal of Honor recipient since Viet Nam. He in turn had received it from torchbearers representing each of the services. Alas, I did not catch all their names, but the one that I did had me marveling. Army PFC Joshua Bullis of Glendale, AZ is a triple amputee. He is also competing in the rifle competition. To me, that is amazing. I'm reasonably healthy, and I know I can't shoot worth a damn. Imagine what it takes for a man with one arm. That's just awesome.
After the ceremony, I had the distinct pleasure of talking with Sal. What a great guy, seriously. (And as an aside, congrats to he and his wife who it was announced are now expecting their first child.) Sal was genuinely honored to have been a part of this, and said that the pride he felt looking down on there fellow servicemembers and athletes was amazing. One kind of funny moment from listening to him was when he was talking to a young woman who is a paralympic athlete, and she was saying how her Mom always wants her to wear the medal she earned at the paralympics around all the time, and asked if Sal's mom was the same way. He started laughing and said that she is always telling him how cool it is and how he should wear it everywhere. He looked comfortable and natural in it, but Sal is a bit humble I think to be advertising his heroism for the entire world while out at the grocery store picking up some lettuce.
Anyway, I will have more on Sal and some of the speakers later, but for now, I am off to see some Track and Field events and get some interviews with the athletes.
(Pictures all week provided by Sean Crosier, who is making the daily haul from Denver to help us cover the events!)