We are Invictus: Prince Harry Joins Michelle Obama and Hundreds of Military Personnel At Invictus Games Opening Ceremony

  May 8, 2016 at 8:47 pm by

Prince Harry has given a speech receiving rapturous applause at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando this evening.

The Prince spoke about how his ten years in the British Army taught him about the “importance of teamwork and camaraderie”, and showed him the sacrifices made by those in the military and their families. But it was a plane ride home alongside “the body of a Danish solider and three young Brits, fighting for their lives” was what helped him to “understand the real, permanent cost of war.”

These experiences were what pushed him to do something to help his “military family”: “The extraordinary privileges of being a Prince gave me an extraordinary opportunity to help my military family. That’s why I had to create the Invictus Games – to build a platform for all those who have served to prove to the world what they have to offer.”

Harry also used his speech to highlight the fact that returning servicemen and women don’t just suffer from physical injuries, but also mental ones which are just as important to acknowledge and provide support for; saying that these competitors have “confronted tremendous emotional and mental challenges” to be where they are today.

He ended by offering heartfelt praise to the 500 athletes taking part from 15 countries, saying of them, “You are fierce competitors. You are role models that any parent would be proud to have their children follow. You’ve made me a better person. You are about to inspire the world and I’m proud to call you my friends.”

During the ceremony, the 15 nations (including some Danes who had clearly taken a break to visit Disneyworld!) competing marched around the stadium to enormous cheers from the crowd as Morgan Freeman acted as host, and First Lady Michelle Obama and former US President George W Bush gave speeches as supporters of the Games’ initiative.

Singers James Blunt, Laura Wright and Gareth Malone all took to the stage as part of the show, as did the US Silent Drill Platoon and the US Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, who entertained the crowd with their incredibly precise routines.

A pop of fireworks ended the opening ceremony. The Games will run until May 12.

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