The Department of Defense Warrior Games will hold its closing ceremonies on Saturday night at Navy Pier, but for competitors and fans alike, the week-long competition has created a lifetime of memories.
“It’s hard going through multiple events every single day, but they’re going to come away with a lifetime of memories,” Marine Corps Ambassador Rafuel Cervantes said.
The Games, which opened on June 30 and will hold their closing ceremony on Saturday, saw competitors compete in a variety of disciplines, including basketball, volleyball, and swimming.
Traditionally, the event is held on a military base, but this year it was decided to hold the event in Chicago. Venues like Soldier Field, the United Center, and the University of Illinois-Chicago all hosted competitions and events, and the unique experience helped add a bit of extra drama to the festivities.
Even as the games wrap up, those that competed feel a sense of camaraderie after participating, and they’ll carry those emotions away with them as they leave Chicago.
“This is the first time since I’ve been injured that I’ve been around like-minded people that are going through similar things to me,” British serviceman Mike Ryan said. “It’s kind of bittersweet that it has to end.”
The closing ceremonies, being held at Navy Pier Saturday night, are not open to the public.