Prince Harry and Jill Biden Support Wounded Warrior Athletes: 'The Ultimate Reminder of Service'
"You guys are leaders in every aspect of your lives," Prince Harry told service members during a virtual event with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden
On Monday, the two paired up for a virtual event honoring wounded service members who would have taken part in this year's Warrior Games, which was slated to be held this week in Orlando, Florida, but was canceled because of COVID-related concerns.
During a Zoom conference call, Harry — who was to have visited the U.S. Department of Defense's contest with Dr. Biden before its cancellation — told service members that his Paralympic-style Invictus Games "never would've been created had I not been inspired by every single one of you, and you companions and your families, and everything you've given in service to this country."
"These games are so important, whether it's the Warrior Games or the Invictus Games. It is the ultimate reminder of service both at home and overseas. It is about the physical and the mental fitness of those who have sacrificed so much," he continued.
"To see every single one of you here with the pride on your faces makes me incredibly happy to know how far you guys have come, the dark places that you've been to, and where you are now," Harry added. "Thank you for inspiring us. Thank you for showing us the way. You guys are leaders in every aspect of your lives, both while serving and within your communities as well. This community is as strong as ever and that also makes me incredibly proud."
Harry — a veteran with two tours to Afghanistan during his decade in the British army — attended the Warrior Games in Colorado in 2013 and a year later put on his first Invictus Games in London. Dr. Biden, meanwhile, has been immersed in supporting the adaptive sporting community through Joining Forces, the White House initiative to support military and veteran families, caregivers, and survivors.
Then-Second Lady Dr. Biden attended Harry's Invictus Games when it was in Orlando in 2016, and she and former Vice President (now President) Joe Biden joined Harry at the Games in Toronto the following year.
During the virtual event, Dr. Biden recalled her first time meeting Harry at the inaugural Invictus Games and praised the Duke of Sussex for dedicating himself to "lifting up service members from around the globe."
"It's hard to believe it's been 7 years since the first Invictus Games in London. The memories of it are still so fresh in my mind. Every race and game more thrilling than the last," she said, before noting that there "was one moment that I will never forget."
Dr. Biden then recounted seeing swimmers who had finished a race cheering on another competitor who "was still digging deep to get to the finish line."
"Her teammates lined up along the side of the pool and cheered as loudly as they could. Then, the swimmers from all different countries came over as well," she remembered. "With each stroke she took, the crowd shouted and chanted with encouragement until she made it to the end. Her victory and the community that came together around her took my breath away."
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Ken Fisher, Chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation, also took part in the online celebration on Monday. Fisher House Foundation has been a long-term supporter of both Warrior Games and Invictus Games, providing "a home away from home" for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers. Families are lodged temporarily for free so they can be close to their loved one during their medical treatment.
The Warrior Games was first held in 2010 to celebrates the resiliency and dedication of wounded, ill and injured active duty and veteran U.S. military Service members.