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Senior military veterans go for the glory at the Golden Age Games

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden | | June 3, 2009

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Jonah Hicks, a 64-year-old Marine Corps and combat-wounded Vietnam War veteran, speeds around the track during the cycling event at the 23rd Annual National Veterans Golden Age Games in Birmingham, Ala., June 2. Nearly 700 American military veterans from conflicts ranging from World War II to the Persian Gulf war arrived here June 1 to prove that their best days are still ahead of them as they competed in the 23rd Annual National Veterans Golden Age Games. The games are the world's largest sports and recreational competition for veterans ages 55 and older. They began June 2 and will run through June 5. Athletes compete in various events to include swimming, bicycling, shuffleboard, air rifle and other events in divisions based on their ages and handicaps.

"The National Veterans Golden Age Games is more than just a a game to me," said Hicks, who has been a participant at the games since 2001. "It's a family reunion, and I look forward to it because it helps me in so many other areas of my life."

Separate divisions include ambulatory, visually-impaired and wheelchair. The Golden Age Games are open to all U.S. military veterans ages 55 and older who receive care at a Department of Veterans Affairs medical facility. The games are co-sponsored by the VA, the Help Hospitalized Veterans non-profit organization and the Veterans Canteen Service. The Games are also a qualifying event every other year for the National Senior Olympic Games.


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