As the first foreigners, Danish veterans were invited to celebrate the annual Warrior Week in Virginia Beach with U.S. veterans.
Around 25 Danish veterans with family members and friends flew across the Atlantic to participate in this year’s Warrior Week from 1-4 of June in Virginia Beach, VA.
For four days the wounded veterans enjoyed the beach and did a long list of activities including surfing, wrestling, workout sessions, horseback riding, and bicycling. The week was arranged by United Service Organizations (USO), who support members of the U.S. military and military veterans.
“I think it’s fantastic. We collaborated at the same battlefield and now we found each other across the Atlantic Ocean and we collaborated as a wounded warrior,” says Jacob Panton, who is the founder of the Danish Wounded Warriors, to wawy.com “They made us feel the same patriotism that they share with their wounded warriors and that’s just fantastic.”
The week got kicked off with a reception at Sheraton Hotel on June 1st. The Danish Minister of Defense, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, and Mayor of Virginia Beach, Will Sessoms, all held speeches praising the relationship between Denmark and the United States.
In his speech, Claus Hjort Frederiksen awarded GN Hearing and their US President Kim Lody this year’s HRH Prince Henrik´s Export Award for making a significant difference for thousands of wounded veterans.
“The company has helped to ensure that Americans, including numerous wounded veterans, are enabled to hear more. And by hearing more, they can do more in their everyday lives. This ultimately allows them to be more as human beings – giving them the ability to live fuller lives,” said Claus Hjort Frederiksen.
The next day, the Danish Ambassador to the U.S., Lars Gert Lose, Member of the Danish Parliament and former Minister of Defense Søren Gade and Claus Hjort Frederiksen welcomed Danish veteran Jens Søndergaard in Virginia Beach. Jens Søndergaard had biked almost 500 kilometres with fellow riders from Vice President Mike Pence’s residence in Washington D.C., while only using his arms. The day ended with a big event at the beach, where Lars Gert Lose, Terry McAuliffe and Will Sessoms all skydived above Virginia Beach, with 30.000 people watching.
Though most the of the activities were in a loose atmosphere, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, Søren Gade and Lars Gert Lose held a series of meetings with organizations and companies to learn from their experience in how to take care of military veterans and their families.
Warrior Week was an excellent opportunity to strengthen the exchange of experience and knowledge between Denmark and United States, and the countries share the ambition of ensuring that our veterans gets the support they deserve.
The Danish Wounded Veterans Organization is planning to host its own Wounded Warrior Week in august in Denmark, Jacob Panton says, and will invite a group of American soldiers.
Please enjoy this video with highlights from Warrior Week: