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This summer, Dr. Jill Biden was the U.S. patron for the Walk of America, a coast-to-coast expedition of six wounded veterans across the continental United States. The Walk of America was the first-ever U.S. expedition of Walking With The Wounded.
Established in 2010, Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) supports a pathway for vulnerable veterans to re-integrate back into society and sustain their independence. Prince Harry has served as patron since its inception and led the team on expeditions to the North Pole, Mount Everest, and the South Pole.
This year’s Walk of America comprised six wounded veterans, three from the U.S. and three from the U.K., walking 1,000 miles in 12 weeks across the country. Starting in Los Angeles on June 2nd, and finishing in New York City on September 6th, the team passed some of America’s most iconic cities and landmarks. The endeavor aims to further strengthened ties between the two nations and to develop additional awareness around the recovery and well-being of wounded veterans
Dr. Biden kept up with the team throughout the summer. She and Vice President Biden called the team at the start of their journey to wish them luck, she sent them notes along the road, sent cakes on their birthdays, and met them in person in St. Louis.
Dr. Biden and Vice President Biden greeted the team at the finish line in New York. Taking place just a few days before the 17th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, Dr. Biden and the team toured the 9/11 Memorial and Museum to learn more about that tragic day and more importantly, the resilience of New York City and the rest of the country in its aftermath.
Dr. Biden and Vice President Biden joined the team for a ceremonial wreath laying at the 9/11 Memorial on September 6th.
The team triumphantly completed their 1,000-mile journey at the Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Garden in lower Manhattan, where an enthusiastic crowd of supporters met them with appreciation for their service and part in the Walk of America. Dr. Biden and Vice President Biden both addressed the crowd to praise the team and organizations like Walking With The Wounded that strive to assist veterans, service members, and military families with mental health struggles.
As a military mother, Dr. Jill Biden understands the experiences of military families: supporting their service members, feeling incredible pride for their work, and also carrying the fear that comes with this sacrifice. In her role as second lady, she brought significant attention to the challenges faced by military families, in part through Joining Forces, which she created in partnership with former first lady Michelle Obama.
The walk may have concluded but the work continues. To learn more about Walking With The Wounded, and the organizations it supports, click here.
“Today marks the end of this walk, but the work must continue. I hope everyone here today—military, yes, but especially our civilian guests—will commit to keeping the spirit of this walk alive.”