Second Lady Biden addresses families of fallen soldiers at races - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Second Lady Biden addresses families of fallen soldiers at Churchill Downs

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden told nearly 700 family members of fallen soldiers that they are an "inspiration" and that she is well aware of their sacrifices.

Biden spoke Sunday during a Survivors Day event at Churchill Downs in Louisville. In its fourth year, the event seeks to honor the family members of soldiers who died by inviting them to a day of horse races at the historic racetrack.

"One percent of Americans fight wars. But 99 percent of Americans should support you. And I hope you feel that from Americans wherever you travel. Because I know that it's the families who serve also," Biden told the crowd.

Biden, whose son also served in the Delaware National Guard, said she understands the difficulty families face when their loved ones are overseas serving their country. Many of those attending the event Sunday lost sons, daughters or spouses to America's wars.

"What you all have been through is every mother's worst nightmare. But you've turned it around. You are such an inspiration," Jill Biden said.

Perched well above the dirt track on millionaires' row at Churchill Downs, hundreds of families gathered for this family reunion of sorts.

"It's the closest family you will ever have. It's not a family you want to be a part of. But it's an amazing, amazing family," said Morgan Zimmerman.

Morgan Zimmerman is referring to her extended family - a network of surviving family members who lost loved ones - soldiers who died while serving. Morgan lost her husband Staff Sgt. Sonny Zimmerman in July of this year. He was in Afghanistan on his 4th and final deployment.

"Some days are harder than others, some days it's one day at a time. Sometimes it's five minutes at a time. There's no way to get through this. You just wake up every morning and keep pushing through it," said Zimmerman.

Kentucky's adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Ed Tonini, said events like this: "are what it's all about. We want them to always be a part of our military family."

Zimmerman said she was touched by the presence of Biden.

"We are families from all different incidents and to have someone here who shows respect to us is amazing," she said.

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