Army Ranger Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg nearly lost his life while serving the country overseas in the Middle East, and President Barack Obama recognized his sacrifice during Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address, which was interrupted by a two-minute standing ovation from everyone in attendance after hearing Remsburg’s story
The President explained how he had first met the “proud Army Ranger” from Arizona during a ceremony for the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy during World War II, but their second encounter was under unfortunate circumstances.
“The next time I met him, in a hospital, he couldn’t speak and could barely move. Over the years, he’s endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, hours of grueling rehab every day,” Obama said in his speech (above). “Even now, Cory’s still blind in one eye, still struggles on his left side.”
Remsburg was severely injured during a roadside bombing in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Shrapnel that entered his brain from the explosion left him partially paralyzed, brain damaged, and in a coma for three months after the incident.
Obama has met with Remsburg three times since, and commended his inspiringly positive attitude throughout the long recovery process.
“Day by day, he’s learned to speak again and stand again and walk again, and he’s working toward the day when he can serve his country again,” Obama said. “‘My recovery has not been easy,’ he says. ‘Nothing in life that?s worth anything is easy.'”
“Cory is here tonight. And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit,” Obama continued before the entire House chamber erupted with applause.
During the address, the White House Twitter released two photos of Obama visiting Remsburg — one with Remsburg still stuck in a hospital bed in 2010, and the other as the injured veteran learned to walk again in 2013 with his caretakers, father Craig and stepmother Annie, by his side.
According to a New York Times article about the relationship between Remsburg and his Commander-in-Chief, Obama was not expecting to see Remsburg walk during the 2013 visit (pictured above).
“The young man I had seen in that hospital bed, unable to speak, barely able to move, this time he was in a chair sitting up, alert, smiling, talking. And then, he wanted to show me something,” Obama said in a speech to disabled veterans last August.
The President described the moment Remsburg stood up on his walker, with the help of his father and stepmother, and gave a salute before crossing the room on his own.
“He looked at me and he gave me a sharp salute,” Obama added. “He said, ‘Rangers, lead the way.'”