independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Waters in gig with wounded troops

Roger Waters, center, holds rehearsals with members of the Wounded Warriors Project ahead of the Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in New York (AP)

Wounded US servicemen are performing with former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters at a fundraising concert in New York.

The veterans laughed and smiled Roger held court in a rehearsal hall before the Stand Up for Heroes annual benefit that supports wounded troops through the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

The young men, in wheelchairs or with artificial limbs, were excited at the chance to perform with the rock great, but were not the only ones with admiration in their eyes.

"I feel a great sense of empathy for the people that live on the sharp end of conflicts and the ones that actually get injured," said Roger, 70, at the rehearsal. "I get so much more out of it than I put into it."

Throughout his long career, Roger has written music about victims of conflict, with both The Wall and The Final Cut having a direct connection to war - he lost his father in the Second World War and his grandfather in the First World War.

Last year, he played a touching version of his seminal Wish You Were Here while accompanied by 14 wounded soldiers he met at the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre in Washington.

Roger wants to do his part to help returning veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts because he feels that all too often, they fall through the cracks.

"I'm not a US citizen, but I pay taxes here, and I wish a far greater percent of my tax dollars went to look after these guys," he said.

He joins Bruce Springsteen, Daily Show host Jon Stewart, Bill Cosby, Jerry Seinfeld and other guests.

The Bob Woodruff Foundation was started by the 52-year old ABC journalist after he was seriously injured by an improvised explosive device while covering the war in Iraq in 2006. The foundation helps returning veterans and their families reintegrate with society.

"I never imagined any of this when I woke up out of that coma," Mr Woodruff said. "You wake up in the hospital happy to be alive, but then realise we're not the same any more."

Press Association

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