WASHINGTON—Some blind, some on crutches and some missing limbs, the fifty competitors from the 2012 Warrior Games honored in a Pentagon ceremony on Monday sent a loud message to America’s enemies, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said.
“You can wound me and you can hurt me, but you can never take my life, my spirit or my hope away,” Panetta said.
Hundreds of wounded and disabled current and former servicemembers from across the Department of Defense competed in a range of athletic competitions at the third annual running of the games, held in April and May at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
The event is a reminder to the nation of all the United States owes its wounded warriors, he said. Panetta, who regularly visits recently injured troops, said it’s also a powerful way to remind the warriors themselves of the positive things the future can hold.
“In that acute phase of recovery, I know that it’s hard for some to imagine ever competing for an athletic event,” he said. “And yet the will, the sheer guts to overcome the wounds, to overcome the obstacles that face these warrior athletes—their determination to return to a new normal is not just inspiring, it is nothing short of a miracle of emotional and physical and mental strength.”