Monday, November 21, 2011

The Bidens Host Early Thanksgiving Dinner For Wounded Warriors

Vice President: Taking care of veterans is a "sacred obligation"...
Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden welcomed twelve Wounded Warriors to an early Thanksgiving dinner on Monday afternoon at their Washington, DC, residence. The guests--primarily Marines who served in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province--were joined by their parents or spouses at the Naval Observatory. They sat around two large tables in the dining room as they had a traditional feast: Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, and pumpkin pie. (Above: The Bidens welcome their guests)

Many of the service members were in wheelchairs and missing limbs, having been wounded in 2010 and 2011. They are still recovering, and in treatment and being outfitted with prostheses at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda. The Vice President welcomed the men and women by telling them that they are an "inspiration" to all Americans, and “part of the finest group of warriors that the world has ever seen.”

He promised that President Obama and all future presidents will be committed to making sure that they will have access to any medical breakthroughs that can improve their lives or help them heal.

“We have only one true sacred obligation and that is to provide for those of you we send into harm’s way, and give you every single solitary thing that you could possibly need to make the transition back home reasonable and workable," Biden said. "That is the only truly, truly sacred obligation we have.”

When he was done, the Vice President gave the microphone to his wife, who spoke of her own experiences as the mother of a deployed soldier. The Bidens' son, Captain Beau Biden, of the Delaware Army National Guard, is a veteran of the Iraq war. With First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Biden leads the Joining Forces initiative to support and honor military families. (Above: Dr. Biden speaking with Lance Cpl. Joshua Misiewicz)

“I know what it was like to look down our family table and see my son missing,” Dr. Biden said. “I know what you families have gone through when your loved ones are deployed and I know what it feels like…I know how other families are feeling this Thanksgiving.”

During dinner, the Vice President sat between Lance Cpl. Stephen Ayhens, who lost both his legs when he stepped on a buried bomb, and Lance Cpl. William Carpenter, who was injured by a hand grenade. Dr. Biden sat beside Lance Cpl. Joshua Misiewicz.

Shortly after the meal began, Misiewicz and his mother broke away to talk to reporters in a small living room on the first floor. Misiewicz played hockey while growing up in Chicago, and lost both of his legs above the knee when he stepped on a buried bomb on a foot patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan in July. He has already been outfitted for prostheses at Walter Reed. Just last Thanksgiving, he was working at Camp Pendleton, outside of San Diego, and getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan.

“This is so nice,” Misiewicz said of the dinner. “It shows a lot of people care.”

His mother, Nancy Misiewicz, also chimed in with thanks for the Bidens.

“Nothing compares to a home-cooked meal.”

This is the third year the Bidens have welcomed Wounded Warriors for Thanksgiving.

*Photos by the Office of the Vice President. *Updated

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