CHICAGO (WLS) --The Valor Games kicked off in Chicago on Tuesday, bringing veterans from the battlefield to the athletic field.
The three-day athletic competition for military veterans and service members with various disabilities is coincidentally being held at the only athletic stadium dedicated to those who have served - Solider Field.
Melissa Stockwell, a Chicago-based Army veteran who lost a leg in Iraq 12 years ago, cheered on athletes on Tuesday.
"I was able to see that regardless, if someone was missing one, two or three limbs, lost their eyesight, traumatic brain injury, they didn't let that stop them," Stockwell.
Stockwell is a Paralympian heading to Rio de Janeiro in a couple of weeks to compete in the triathlon.
"When I'm there out on that race course, these are the men and women who will inspire me to get to that finish line," Stockwell said.
It's that inspiration and camaraderie that brings nearly 200 veterans out to the events.
Gulf War veteran Cedric Calhoun was among them. He plans to compete in the discus throw.
"I think everyone reflects on their service career whether you're injured or not and you want to look back and think of all the good competitions you had and you continue to compete later in life," Calhoun said.
The Valor Games started in Chicago six years ago. Since then, similar games have popped up in other cities across the U.S.
Organizers said the games are a great way to remember the sacrifices made by our veterans.
"It's a great thing to see what we can give back to our veterans, not just about the competition and camaraderie and games for them, but also to talk about the other resources that they have," said Alonzo Williams, of the Chicago Park District.
This year, the Chicago Park District is hosting the Valor Games on its own for the first time, and it's a highlight for many veterans.
"It gives us an outlet to look forward to each year," said Army veteran Bennie McQueen.
The competition wraps up on Thursday.