Cpl. Matthew Bridges, who is an outpatient - injured from an improvised explosive device in Iraq - at the National Naval Medical Center, said he felt his faith in God renew as he attended the mass, even though he is not Catholic. He said when he became injured, he thought of God.
Bridges said he didn't know what to think when the pope reached out and shook his hand. It was a feeling he can't describe, he said, because it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"I don't know how to explain it," Bridges said. "I have friends who are Catholic that say it's a great blessing to be touched by the pope."
Sgt. James Bane, an administrative assistant in the National Naval Medical Center's Marine Corps Liaison office, said he was honored and privileged to be a part of something so big with a figure that has such a world-wide influence. He said it was uplifting to see so many people from all walks of life taking part in the ceremony.
"I was sitting next to a senator from New Mexico and across the aisle was a group of nuns," Bane said. "Here on one side you have straight politics and on the other side, straight religious. It was neat to have that many people from many different cultures there for the same thing."