Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Prince Harry Joins First Lady Dr Jill Biden to Celebrate Warrior Games

Prince Harry joined First Lady Dr Jill Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Ken Fisher, CEO of Fisher House Foundation for a very special virtual event honouring Warrior Games athletes. Harry and Jill had been scheduled to attend the Warrior Games in Orlando this week. Sadly, it wasn't possible to proceed due to Covid-19 concerns. Supporting veterans and their loved ones has been at the very heart of Harry's work since his time in the army. I have no doubt one of his primary goals was to extend those efforts in the US.

The First Lady said, "Harry you live by a simple principle - serve together, recover together. It's a philosophy not limited by the flag you wear. Your brothers and sisters in arms are connected by something so much deeper than the borders that separate us. You've dedicated your time, talent and heart to lifting up service members from around the globe. In fact, it's hard to believe it's been seven years since the first Invictus games in London. The memories are still fresh in my mind."

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin thanked Harry for his two tours of service and for "being a champion of veterans in this community". Ken Fisher shared a wonderful introduction for Harry, noting it's been his "absolute privilege" to work with him. Speaking from his Montecito home, Harry began by sharing his delight at seeing Ken again. "It's nice to see you looking so well after this last year. I've certainly missed you and thank you for that introduction." The Prince then described seeing the First Lady again "as an absolute pleasure and a joy". Harry continued, "You don't need to hear this from me but from everybody on this call and everyone in the military across the world, thank you for your continued support after all these years. It's been fantastic to see you in action, giving everything you've got."

Harry said an "enormous hello" to participants and families on the call. "This is what it's all about. I'm so sorry we're not together at the Warrior Games as we should be. We all know how important the training is for these moments. It's not about the medals. It's not so much about the winning -- as far as most of us are concerned you guys have already won." Harry added he will "never forget" his first visit to the Warrior Games which "inspired" him to create the Invictus Games. Harry praised the families who give so much and are often forgotten. He spoke of his pride at seeing veterans stronger thanks to the power of sport in rehabilitation. The strength of the military community makes the Prince "incredibly proud".

"These games are so important. It's ultimately the reminder of service at home and overseas. It's about caring for our physical, as well as our mental, fitness. It's not just those who wear the uniform, but every single one of you because, as we know, once served, always serving." - Prince Harry

Almost a decade ago, during a trip to Colorado, Harry was left inspired and moved by the Warrior Games. The Department of Defense games have been held since 2010, and celebrate the resilience of wounded, ill and injured active duty and veteran US military service members. It was during this visit that Harry met the then Second Lady Dr Jill Biden. The two bonded over their shared desire to harness the power of sport to highlight those who have given so much for their countries, and in turn, bring military families together. Jill shared her very personal and enduring ties to the military during an event she attended with First Lady Michelle Obama and Harry. "I feel a special bond with other military moms. I'll never forget the day that Beau deployed to Iraq. It was that mixture of pride and concern that military moms know all too well, right? Having Beau overseas was a tough year for our entire family, but it was especially difficult for my daughter-in-law Hallie, my granddaughter Natalie, and our grandson Hunter."

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Armed with the knowledge he gained from the trip, and seeing the Warrior Games first-hand, Harry returned to London with a plan...

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The following year, Dr Jill Biden would cheer on Invictus athletes at the inaugural games in London.

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Jill shared a moving story from the games: "Prince Harry and I were at the basketball game earlier, and we were talking about military families. And he was saying, he was talking to military spouses saying how much it meant to the athletes, and he was told, 'No you don't understand -- this means so much to the families.'"

During the 2016 games in Orlando, Joe and Jill were on hand once again. During a speech, Joe addressed the crowd: "You make a difference. Like the line in the poem 'Invictus' says, 'They are the masters of their fate', but what you also are, you're also the captains of your countries' souls. You are the spine. You are the backbone. Thanks for being who you are. It's an honour to be in the presence of so many warriors on the battlefield, warriors off the battlefield."

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Indeed, the President once joked his wife was "spending too much time with Harry" :)

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Ahead of today's event, a White House spokesperson said, "Prince Harry, a combat veteran who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan during his decade of military service, first attended the Warrior Games in 2013." They noted the games share "a deep bond" with the Invictus Games. The spokesperson spoke of the First Lady's dedication to the White House Joining Forces initiative, supporting veterans, families, caregivers and survivors.

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In other news, Prince Harry has participated in a documentary celebrating his late grandfather's life and achievements. Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers will air on BBC One at 9 pm on 22 September. More than a dozen royals, including all of the Queen and Prince Philip's children and adult grandchildren (William, Harry, Peter, Zara, Beatrice & Eugenie), will share fond memories, thoughts and reflections in tribute to the Duke's extraordinary life.

I'll share links to documentary when it becomes available.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you Charlotte for writing the history of the Invictus games. I knew most of this, but I am impressed all over again. No one other than Prince Harry could have created Invictus: he had the high-powered contacts across continents and literally the “boots on the ground” credentials. He could have avoided serving in Afghanistan, but like everything he does, he went all-in. No wonder he was so unflinching, years later, when he made the decision he had to leave his country to protect his family and his own mental health.
    I’m certain history will recognize that he is a powerful and unique force for good in the world.
    Renee

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    1. I agree ����
      "Server Together, recover Together "!Prince Harry is an incredible man & veteran .
      The even was truly enjoyable !
      It was a terrific way to honor thé Warrior Games Athletes & their families.
      " Service is Universal "
      Prince Harry.

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  2. For the greater good of humanity, God bless all those involve and Prince Harry is more than just a "PRINCE" in this generation people celebrate impact not title

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  3. keep up the good deeds prince harry is more involves whist he loves

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  4. Happy birthday Prince Harry. I wish you and your family a lot of happiness.

    Thanks Charlotte

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  5. Sheryl from BC Canada17 September 2021 at 03:31

    What a wonderful post...Thank you Charlotte for this recap. I knew that Prince Harry started Invictus but not where the whole idea came from. What a power house indeed. It's no wonder that he and Meghan clicked so fast!!

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