A group of wounded U.S. soldiers and Marines who are undergoing
rehabilitation at Washington's Walter Reed Army Medical Center are
being treated to some special therapy - a weekend of fun with their
families in New York City.
Looking down 10 stories
over Ground Zero, Marine Corporal Jonathan Rist said he hoped the new
construction going on below would not remove every last shred of the
buildings destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
have all these great plans for new designs and new buildings and
reflecting pools and memorial this and memorial that - I think they
should leave a little bit -they are tearing the last bit of it out
now," he said. "I think they should leave a little bit, because that
means more than anything they could build. It will mean more to the
generations to follow - plus the ones that gave up a lot for it."
Rist should know. He is one of the thousands of U.S. military personnel
that have been injured in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
22 years old, he has been a Marine for four years. He spent 10 months
in Iraq and then was deployed to Afghanistan, where a roadside bomb
severed both his legs on August 30 last year.
But today, he
and his wife Tonya were just two tourists, taking in the sights of New
York, not thinking about the long road to recovery that still lies
The non-profit organization "Hospital Audiences," which
provides hospital patients access to the arts, organized the 3-day
escape for the wounded warriors, many of whom will spend between nine
months and two years at Walter Reed.
Friday started out
stormy, but as the 14 soldiers, Marines and their families boarded a
yacht for a sightseeing cruise around lower Manhattan, the dark rain
clouds parted giving them a glorious view of the Statue of Liberty.
was a relaxed and happy atmosphere for the group. A chance to put aside
the physical therapy, surgeries and doctor appointments that have
become a part of their daily routines.
Army Specialist Will
Cook, 20, lost a leg in Iraq, but was not thinking about his injuries
on Friday. "The girl I like is here, so it's really fabulous!" he said.
Lyons, wife of Corporal Corey Lyons, 23, said she wished the weekend
would never end and they did not have to return to Walter Reed hospital.
"It is a great opportunity for him to get away from physical therapy and all the stress he has to deal with," she said.
is also a good opportunity for the spouses and children to relax. Their
hosts have organized a full weekend of diversions for them, including a
Broadway show and a trip to the circus, before they return to
Washington on Sunday.