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Soldier Ride

The 2008 Soldier Ride took place last month, but I am blogging about it now so that I remember it next year. I am so grateful for the sacrifices our soldiers make on behalf of the American people, so I want to give them a little attention here.

So sorry to be blogging something in the past tense, but I believe saying ‘thank you’ never goes out of style.

Back in Feb of 2006 I was working for Finnegan’s Way on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach. We were fortunate enough to be involved with the Soldier Ride fundraising effort.

Soldier Ride is a bike ride put on by the Wounded Warrior Project. The ride began in the morning at Finnegan’s Way in Miami Beach and ended later that afternoon at Finnegan’s on the River in Miami.

I went through so many emotions while photographing and getting to know the guys. They were so young. That was the hardest part. So young…so many losses…so not necessary.

Inspite of their losses, the soldiers were all in good spirits and enjoying the day. It was remarkable to me to see these men who had lost a leg, an arm or their vision and still not feel sorry for themselves. All of them had a “Let’s go!” attitude and did not allow their disability hold them back.

Quite sobering for those of us who tend to use excuses for why we can’t accomplish our desires.

This was my first time being so close to so many war injuries. There were moments of uncomfort as I struggled to decide how to interact with these guys. What is socially correct? Is it rude to stare? Is it OK to ask questions? Are they going to be offended if I take pictures?

I was quite intimidated at first, but slowly warmed up as I spoke with more and more soldiers. These guys are a lot of fun to be with, and the most inspiring people I had ever met.

I hope I get to see them again if they come to Miami in 2009.

Please visit the Soldier Ride gallery and let me know what you think.

Soldier Ride