U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Alpine skier Jon Lujan will carry the Stars and Stripes and lead the U.S. Paralympic Team into Fisht Stadium at the Opening Ceremony on Friday night.
“Obviously the flag to me represents our country, and ever since we became a country that flag has stood in every battle and every holiday, and it’s draped over the coffins of our fallen military,” Lujan said in a press release. “So there’s a lot of meaning behind that flag. To be able to carry it on an international level of this magnitude is unbelievable.”
He was chosen as flag bearer in a vote by Team USA athletes.
Lujan, 43, served as a Sergeant in the Marine Corps from 1993-97 and 2001-06. He ruptured two discs in his back while serving in Iraq in 2003, and surgery to repair them in 2005 damaged his spinal cord. He has permanent nerve damage and paralysis in his lower legs.
He is a first-time Paralympian and a four-time national champion skier.
“I get a little choked up,” Lujan said. “I’m just going to wave it high, hold it high and be loud and proud.”