By Debbie Gregory.
The VA was proud to support the more than 500 ill and injured military Veterans from 15 Nations who traveled to Orlando, Florida, to compete in the 2016 Invictus Games.
The competitors hailed from Afghanistan, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Jordan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States
VA Secretary Bob McDonald said, “These Games highlight the perseverance and determination of so many of our allied nations’ disabled and injured military Veterans. This competition shows exactly how adaptive sports greatly improves the quality of life of these heroes…”
“Invictus” means unconquered in Latin. The Games harness the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for those who serve their countries.
The Invictus Games were the brainchild of Great Britain’s Prince Harry. He realized how the power of sport could physically, psychologically, and socially help an injured servicemembers .
“I served along with soldiers from all over the world,” Prince Harry said at the opening ceremony. “I saw the sacrifices they and their families made to serve their nations. I learned about the importance of team work and camaraderie in the way that only military service can teach you.”
First lady Michelle Obama, Britain’s Prince Harry and Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman delivered stirring speeches after performances from the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, soprano Laura Wright and singer-songwriter James Blunt.
The closing ceremonies on May 12th included performances by Rachel Platten, Rascal Flatts, Phillip Phillips, Flo Rida, Season 9 winner of the Voice Jordan Smith, and the first nationally-recognized wounded warrior band, Vetted.
To see the results of the games, visit http://invictusgames2016.org/results-2/