In his speech, Obama pointed out men and women on the ride who now help other injured soldiers and others. Sgt. Maj. Sedrick Banks, who suffered serious neck, back and brain injuries in a bomb blast in Iraq, now calls himself a "warrior for society" as he works to mentor young Washington men, the president said.
Obama said the group is "an inspiration to the country" and some of the country will be out to support them during their multi-day bicycle ride.
"Many of you are recovering from devastating injuries. Some of you have had to learn the basics all over again -- how to stand again, how to walk again, how to run again," the president said. "And now you’re here today because that’s what Soldier Ride is all about -- seeing each other through the finish line."
The president talked about meeting Maj. Jeanette Nieves-Ayala for the first time at Walter Reed Medical Center. Nieves-Ayala told him a Michelle Obama coin would "trump" the coin with the presidential seal that he gave her.
"Now, it is true that the First Lady trumps me," Obama said. "But Jeanette says her proudest accomplishment is being a peer mentor to other wounded warriors. She says that during her recovery, 'I was definitely being carried. Now I feel like I am helping to carry others.' So I want to thank you, Jeanette."