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Invictus Games: Honoring & Acknowledging the Wounded Warrior

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The Invictus Games, a Paralympic-style event featuring multiple sports, were held in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada from September 23-30, highlighting the skills and efforts of wounded veterans from around the world. On the official games website, Prince Harry was quoted saying, “Time and time again, competitors from around the world tell me that sport has saved them; that the Invictus Games have given them a new lease on life; and that to represent their country again with fellow comrades is something they could only have dreamt of while lying in hospital.”

Prince Harry’s Invictus Games: Honoring & Acknowledging the Wounded Warrior

Photo: Facebook/Invictus Games Toronto 2017

Coming to a close on Saturday, September 30, the games marked their third successful event in which injured, sick, or wounded armed services personnel took part in a number of sports such as wheelchair basketball, indoor rowing, and sitting volleyball, to name a few. Prince Harry and his advisors created the games to allow for the participation of these individuals, naming them “Invictus” which is Latin for “undefeated” or “unconquered.” The first of these events were held in London, England in 2014, and the second in Orland, Florida, here in the U.S. in 2016.

Prince Harry’s Invictus Games: Honoring & Acknowledging the Wounded Warrior

Photo: Facebook/Invictus Games Toronto 2017

The prince is a veteran of service himself, through efforts in Afghanistan, and created these games to help inspire soldiers toward their goal of recovery. Of the 550 competitors hailing from 17 countries and competing in 12 sports, there was, of course, some notable competition. Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Aaron Stewart, who did basic training in San Antonio, Texas, raced a recumbent bicycle and swam in events at these Invictus Games. All event results have been posted to the official games website, for which a link is provided here.

Prince Harry’s Invictus Games: Honoring & Acknowledging the Wounded Warrior

Photo: Facebook/Stacey Laforme Via Tom Sandler

Recognizing the First Nation component to Canadian history, the host community in partnership with the City of Toronto was that of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. From the outset, Prince Harry acknowledged all dignitaries with open arms and open communication. A diplomat of one of the highest regards for his age, he approached such community representatives as Chief R. Stacey Laforme with respect and mutual admiration. As the host First Nation for the event, community representatives participated in the opening, medal, and closing ceremonies.

Prince Harry’s Invictus Games: Honoring & Acknowledging the Wounded Warrior

Photo: Facebook/Royal Families/Familias Reales

In the closing ceremony, however, all eyes appeared to be on Prince Harry, seated next to the wife of Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, as his girlfriend, U.S. actress Meghan Markle sat in a luxury box alongside her mother. He later joined them during Bruce Springsteen’s performance, which was one of many in a star-studded affair. The 48th Highlanders of Canada Pipes and Drums together with the Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces opened these ceremonies, followed by Coeur De Pirate, Kelly Clarkson, Bachman Turner, Bryan Adams and, finally Springsteen. The full event mirrored Harry’s focus for the Invictus Games – on wounds both external and internal. Presenting special games medals to representatives of the 17 participating countries, he left not a dry eye in the house. The game’s participants that have given so much for their countries have a platform from which to aim further, try harder, and continue to grow personally, and we now have a platform from which to truly honor and acknowledge them.