NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As we celebrate our country’s independence, many U.S. troops who fought for America’s freedom are still recovering from the sacrifices they made.
A group of wounded warriors and their families came from all over the country to spend the 4th of July in New York, starting their day at the 9/11 Memorial.
Staff Sgt. Travis Mills lost his arms and legs in Afghanistan less than 3 months ago and yet dreams of continuing to serve in the Army.
“If I can still serve in the 82nd and be an instructor, I would love that, if they would let me. I still have a little bit to give, a lot to give, if they let me,” Mills told CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu.
Air Force Sgt Joseph Wilkinson was paralyzed in the Gulf War and said he and his family are thinking of those who served before him.
“Just remember why we have those freedoms. It’s from from our men and our women, not just from these past wars, but the previous wars,” Wilkinson said.
The 14 heroes that visited the World Trade Center site on Wednesday said the support they get is incredible. They will all receive specially equipped “smart homes” from the The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
The charity was started in honor of firefighter Stephen Siller who gave his life on 9/11.
Army Specialist Brendan Marrocco moved into the first home in Staten Island last year.
“Pretty much before I moved in, I always had to have someone around to do something for me if I needed it, now I can pretty much stay by myself,” Marrocco said.
The public can now sponsor parts of the homes being built by getting involved with the Tunnel to Towers foundation.
“You can buy a door, you can buy a window, you can buy a faucet, you can buy as little or as large as you would like to do,” Frank Siller, of the foundation, said.
The Gary Sinise Foundation, which was started by the actor who played the amputee character Lieutenant Dan in “Forrest Gump,” also organized Wednesday’s event.
Those who gave so much say along with everyone’s July 4th barbecues and the celebrations, it’s important to reflect on the sacrifices.
“For most of the country, they go about their daily lives and don’t think about it, it was a big deal when it happened — 10 years, 11 years later, you got to remember, you can’t forget,” Marine Cpl. Todd Nicely said.
The 14 men and their families will enjoy the Macy’s fireworks show Wednesday night aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid.