The Invictus Games were opened in Orlando on Sunday (8th) with an amazing and rousing show.
The show began with the teams coming into the venue country by country. To see so many countries getting involved was wonderful. Soldiers from across the world united in their need for sport and its healing powers, in so many ways.
Music came from James Blunt and Laura Wright as well as Gareth Malone’s choir and there were other surprise guests too, such as Morgan Freeman. A US soldier dropped in from a helicopter with his service dog to deliver the Invictus Games flag. The show concluded with an incredible fireworks display.
The teams from across the world along with their families took centre stage, but the limelight was stolen not by Prince Harry himself, but by his speech.
Prince Harry talked of the hidden disabilities that are all too easily forgotten or unnoticed, the mental illnesses that so many people suffer from. He related his speech not only to veterans, but to civilians also, urging anyone who is struggling to get help.
It was heartwarming that he chose this worldwide forum to bring mental health to the forefront of people’s minds, and he made it clear that mental health was a concern for everyone, not just veterans. He spoke of the power of sport to help heal wounded veterans both inside and out.
The First Lady, Michelle Obama, followed Prince Harry, with a humble and appreciative speech, showing gratitude and awe not only for the veterans, but for their often overlooked caregivers too.
It really was a ceremony of thankfulness both for the veterans who had served their countries and had their whole lives changed as a consequence, but also appreciation for their families and friends, their caregivers who provide immense support and encouragement as they struggle to come to terms with their new ways of living.
The Invictus Games 2016 Opening Ceremony was not only an amazing spectacular, but it was inspirational and gave a promise of exciting things to come. It built people up in preparation for the exciting and entertaining games ahead.