May 4th, 2011
05:55 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Just days after the United States’ dramatic, secret raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, President Obama told a gathering of more than 500 military men and women that "America will ensure that justice is done."
On the South Lawn of the White House Wednesday, service members from each branch of the military gathered to kick off the annual wounded warriors cycling ride. The president thanked them for their service, noting that the nation has been at war for nearly 10 years and acknowledged the bravery of the special operations team that killed Osama bin Laden.
"[T]hanks to the courage and precision of our forces - the terrorist who started this war and who took so many innocent lives learned that America does not forget."
Dozens of veterans wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of them amputees in specially outfitted cycles, came to the white House for the annual kick off of Soldier Ride. The nationwide program for wounded veterans was designed, in the words of the organizers, to "reclaim their confidence and strength through the exhilaration of cycling."
Mr. Obama, flanked by Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Jim "Hoss" Cartwright and Tammy Duckworth, a double-amputee Iraq war veteran and Assistant Secretary for Veteran's Affairs, told the cyclists that the Soldier Ride is "one of the most inspiring events that we do at the White House."
The president then stepped onto the White House driveway, sounding an air horn to kick off the annual event. Riders circled the driveway twice cheered on by the president and members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
Soldier Ride is also a fund raising event to provide assistance to the thousands of wounded soldiers returning from the wars and also for their families. It was started in 2004 when civilian Chris Carney cycled from coast to coast, more than 5000 miles, to raise money for soldiers returning home.