On Veterans Day weekend, November 7-9, my husband and I attended the USO’s Salute to Our Troops event in New York City. In its second year, A Salute to Our Troops is a national program honoring the many faces of courage and inspiration belonging to individuals who demonstrate selfless dedication to our country. The program seeks to inspire others into action and show unified support for our service men and women and their families. What a wonderful and special event. It was very well organized, and I was humbled by the all of the USO staff and volunteers. The Microsoft Corporation partnered with the USO to show their appreciation for the military community by recognizing and thanking them for their service. Many celebrities came out for the events, including retired football players like Bill Denk, actors like Carmen Electra, and sports commentator James Brown. It was an absolutely fantastic affair!

Microsoft and the USO hosted about 25 wounded warriors from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Bethesda Naval Center to participate in a wide array of activities throughout New York City. The great variety of events included the following:

  • A warrior welcome On Friday evening at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square;
  • A US Coast Guard tour of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty;
  • A stop at Ground Zero honoring the fallen and our wounded warriors;
  • Lunch in Little Italy;
  • Dinner at the American Museum of Natural History; and
  • A private showing of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

The private showing of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular upheld the USO tradition of entertaining the troops and gave the wounded warriors a chance to spend time with their families by starting the holiday season with a bang. My husband and I had a wonderful time and I am sure that many of the wounded warriors on the trip were overtaken by the experience. It is nice to know that there are people who genuinely care about the troops returning from OIF, OEF, and subsequently all conflicts.

“Our service members and the USO volunteers who serve them exemplify leadership, duty and discipline, inspiring us to consider the various ways we can give back,” said Curt Kolcun, vice president of Microsoft U.S. Public Sector. “A Salute to Our Troops is our way of recognizing their sacrifices and honoring their efforts by providing some exciting New York moments they won’t forget.” “A Salute to Our Troops once again aims to bring joy and show gratitude to our service men and women and their families for all they do for this country,” said Brian Whiting, president of USO of Metropolitan New York. “As we host them here in New York, in the proud tradition of partnership with our USO-Metro D.C. counterparts, we hope Americans will join us in considering ways they themselves can give back to those who give so much.”

Please visit the A Salute to Our Troops community at http://www.salutetoourtroops.org

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