The Duke of Sussex said the Covid-19 pandemic has “flipped life upside down for so many” as he spoke at an event honouring those taking part in the Warrior Games.
Harry, who spent 10 years in the Army co-hosted a virtual event for the Games, which celebrates injured active duty and veteran US military service members.
Appearing alongside US First Lady Jill Biden Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and Ken Fisher, CEO of Fisher House Foundation, the duke said the Warrior Games were the inspiration behind the Invictus Games, first held in London in 2014.
The duke was expected to attend the 2021 Warrior Games in Orlando Florida, but it was cancelled due to coronavirus-related concerns.
He said: “I am so sorry that we’re not all together at the Warrior Games where we should be.
“The pandemic has certainly changed or flipped life upside down for so many people.
“I will never forget that first visit that I had to the Warrior Games, which inspired me to create the Invictus Games and the Invictus Games never would have been created had I not been inspired by every single one of you, and your companions, and the families for everything that you give to the service of this country.”
Harry was inspired to found the global tournament after attending the Warrior Games in Colorado in 2013 and seeing how injured American military personnel thrived on the challenge of taking part in competitive sports that aided their recovery.
It celebrates the “resiliency and dedication of wounded, ill, and injured active duty and veteran US military service members”.
He said: “It’s not about the medals. It’s not even so much about the winning, as far as most of us are concerned you guys have already won.
It is about caring for our physical as well as our mental fitness of those that have sacrificed so much.
Duke of Sussex
“These games are so important, whether it’s the Warrior Games, whether it’s the Invictus Games, it is ultimately the reminder of service, both at home and overseas.
“It is about caring for our physical as well as our mental fitness.
“And that, again, is not just those who wear the uniform, but every single one of you. Because as we know, once served, always serving and that goes across the whole family network.”
Speaking at the start of the event, Dr Biden said: “Twenty years ago our world broke apart and the shockwaves of 9/11 continue today, but as the President and I visited the September 11 memorials this weekend I was reminded of the humanity that shined through the inhumanity of that day.
“There was a call to defend the values we hold dear as we waged a global war on terror and a courageous group of men and women stepped forward to say ‘Me, I will go’.
“And that includes you, Harry, you live by a simple principle, serve together, recover together.”