By Howard Monroe

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was an early morning for a local group of veterans. They celebrated the country’s independence by joining together for a fitness challenge.

“Everybody is doing this together, everybody is in this working together, fighting isolation, fighting the sense of desperation,” John Bond, state coordinator for Team Red, White and Blue, said.

As the clock struck 7 a.m., a group of over 20 veterans from Team Red, White and Blue gathered at the Independence Mall and did burpees as a group.

“The fact that we’re able to do this, to come together, a sense of community, a sense of connection, a sense of positivity, it motivates us,” Bond said.

“It’s the best, it’s what we do and it’s what Team RWB is all about,” Keith Wittstock, the Philadelphia chapter’s captain, said.

With so much turmoil going on in the country right now, these vets say this is the perfect way for them to unite.

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“It’s an opportunity to bring a sense of community. A lot of us veterans, it’s easy to become isolated with the social unrest that’s going on,” Bond said. “We’ve lived through this. We’ve seen this happen for some of us while deployed or at home.”

Saturday’s event is part of their #1776Challenge, where they push each other each day to be better.

While they’ve held virtual workouts, Saturday morning was the first time many of these veterans have been together since the start of the pandemic.

They did 76 burpees — the number is symbolic of the country’s founding in 1776.

But the movement is also symbolic. When you fall down, you find a way to get back up.

“Whether we’re veterans or civilians, anything that we can do to help out veterans and what they’ve done for our country is what Team RWB is all about,” Wittstock said.