Vice President Mike Pence honored more than 200 bike-riders at the annual Project Hero Memorial Day Bike Ride on Monday morning.
Pence, joined by his wife, Second Lady Karen Pence, and Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, hosted Project Hero at the Vice President’s residence before the bikers began their route from Washington D.C. to Virginia Beach.
“It’s written if you owe debts, pay debts; if honor, then honor; if respect, then respect,” Pence said behind a vice presidential podium. “This is a day we remember those who serve and did not come home — and to be able to welcome you heroes here, all of you, who have worn the uniform of the United States, and some law enforcement, and have borne the burdens that come with that service.”
Pence added: “To be able to welcome you here on the most hallow of days is profoundly humbling to Karen and I.”
Project Hero is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping veterans and first responders affected by posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and injury achieve rehabilitation, recovery and resilience in their daily lives. The organization’s Memorial Day bike ride, “2017 Unitedhealthcare Memorial Challenge,” was presented by Boeing.
“Karen and I are jealous — we’re bikers! We’d love to ride with you,” said Pence, greeted by laughter and applause. “Especially the first five miles that are all downhill.”
Pence touted President Trump’s “extraordinary” first overseas trip as commander-in-chief, and the administration’s dedication to veterans and military men and women, and cited a statistic that more than 1 in 5 veterans have PTSD.
“It’s Memorial Day 2017 — their duty was to serve, our duty is to remember,” Pence said. “It is the greatest privilege of my life to be the vice president to a president who cares so deeply about the men and women of our armed forces and veterans of the United States — Donald Trump.”
Pence also thanked Shulkin for his efforts in “fighting tirelessly” to give the veterans of the United States the “healthcare they’ve earned, and deserve, in uniform,” and noted an executive order signed by President Trump last month dedicated to improving accountability within the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“We wish you Godspeed and safe travels all the way to Virginia Beach, and Project Hero, all the way to a full recovery in an America that cherishes all who serve,” Pence said.
Second Lady Karen Pence delivered a prayer to the bikers, and joked: “Don’t forget all these oranges and bananas before you leave!”