Prince Harry Says Military 'Made Me Who I Am Today' as He and Meghan Markle Dazzle in N.Y.C.

Prince Harry presented the inaugural Intrepid Valor Awards at the 2021 Salute to Freedom gala Wednesday night

Prince Harry looked back on his own military service as he honored veterans at the 2021 Salute to Freedom gala Wednesday night in New York City ahead of Veterans Day in the U.S. and Remembrance Day in the U.K.

In prepared remarks shared at the Intrepid Museum, Harry discussed the isolation service members often feel when returning home, and stressed the importance of supporting veterans.

"My experience in the military made me who I am today, and I will always be grateful for the people I got to serve with — wherever in the world we were," said Harry, who served a decade in the British army and two tours in Afghanistan.

"But in war, you also see and experience things you hope no one else has to," he said. "These stay with us, sometimes like a slideshow of images."

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Lee Morgan

Harry said that he created the Invictus Games "to honor the legacy of those who have given so much" as well as to show "that the men and women who have experienced service injuries, as well as their families, are the strongest people in the world...and they deserve a platform to be seen, a platform to be recognized, and a platform to be truly celebrated."

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He then went on to welcome the 2021 Intrepid Valor Award honorees, who he said "are part of an everlasting bond. You are part of the team of teams. And we will always have your backs. You are not alone."

Harry and Meghan Markle dazzled earlier in the evening when they arrived on the red carpet.

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Lee Morgan

Harry sported a classic black suit and bow tie pinned with four medals and the cross for Knight Commander of Royal Victorian Order around his neck. Meghan wore a show-stopping red gown by Carolina Herrera with coordinating heels by Giuseppe Zanotti. Both adorned their outfits with a red poppy, the symbol used since 1921 to commemorate military members who have died in war.

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Lee Morgan

At one point, a reporter asked Meghan if she was proud of Harry. "I'm always proud of him," she answered.

The Intrepid Museum's Salute to Freedom gala recognizes extraordinary leadership and honors the men and women who serve, and raises money for the Intrepid's educational program for students and programs to support veterans.

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