More than 700 guests attended the fourth annual Bob Woodruff Foundation charity event “Stand Up for Heroes” on June 16. For the first time, the event was held right here in our nation’s capitol.
Comedian Jon Stewart and Grammy-Award winning band Train performed live from the Reagan Building, honoring America’s injured military members and their families.
The true celebrities of the night were the courageous service members themselves, many of whom bear physical reminders of the sacrifice endured while serving our country. Adorned with purple hearts on their chests and beaming spouses on their arms, countless war veterans were in attendance. Despite the charity’s serious nature, “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart helped lighten the mood by reminding veterans why they should be thankful. “Even in their darkest times, remember, at least they don’t have blurry pictures of their genitals spread around the Internet,” Stewart joked, referring to the recent Weinergate scandal.
The star-studded event included Washington’s most powerful and influential leaders, from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mullen. Prominent media members ranged from PBS’s Judy Woodruff, to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, to Time Magazine’s Fareed Zakaria . Bob Woodruff himself hosted the event, along with his wife Lee.
The couple is a living testament of the difficulties in re-adjusting to normal life post-war injury. Woodruff’s 2006 brain damage, caused by a bomb explosion while reporting for ABC News in Iraq, posed tremendous challenges for their family. Despite physical and mental limitations, Woodruff made a remarkable recovery, evident as he and his wife of twenty-three years confidently stood before Thursday night’s packed audience. “We witnessed the care our wounded were getting through the ICU, amazed by the dedication surrounding our troops, but this devotion can only go so far as the allotted resources allow. This is the need, this is the guiding force behind us starting this foundation, which is the reason why all of you are here, thank you so much,” Woodruff said.
It is this vital support for wounded war veterans and their families that simultaneously drives and unites the foundation’s members. Just ask Jon Stewart, who made sure to personally meet and take pictures with each service member individually at the event’s conclusion. Throngs of admirers and media swarmed the comedian, asking for pictures and interviews. “Yes, sure, just let me go meet this Marine over here first,” Stewart replied.