The Duke of Sussex already kicked off the games by declaring Ich Bin ein Düsseldorfer – meaning I am a Düsseldorfer. His line was a subtle nod to an iconic speech by JFK in which he said: “Ich bin ein Berliner” at the height of the Cold War.
He started his closing ceremony speech by speaking in German and discussed how the competitors had changed the lives of millions of people around the world and “opened their hearts”.
He said: “As you have seen and experienced, this week is so much more than a sporting event.
Prince Harry left crowds at the Invictus Games stunned by dropping fluent German
“It is a platform for positive change. We hope you too are feeling it deeply. I am sure, you’re all physically exhausted, but I also hope you are mentally stronger than when you arrived.
“We may have provided the platform but you provided the magic. We’ve all witnessed the true impact sport has had on your recovery and on your post-traumatic growth, but you will never truly know the impact that your actions this week have had on millions of people around the world.”
The Duke also talked about the significance of wearing “your nation’s flag” and explained that ex-service personnel should not have to rely on a uniform.
In one gut-wrenching moment, Harry shared the story of Canadian competitor Master Corporal James Gendron, nearly breaking down in tears.
German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier speaks on stage during the closing ceremony
He told the crowd: “While we were chatting I noticed bagpipes lying on the floor in the far corner. Some of you may know what bagpipes mean to me so I couldn’t help but hope that they’d be played.”
Holding back the floods of tears, Harry added: “Little did I know that 30 minutes later, it would be James picking them up to play yet I had no idea what they meant to him. Nor did I know what memories they would trigger for him. In Afghanistan he played 63 ramp ceremonies. For 63 caskets, for 63 souls, for 63 families.
“For four years, after that last ceremony, he couldn’t touch them. This week, he wasn’t even sure he could bring himself to play them. But he did. What had once haunted him, dare I say it, may now be what helps heal him. Thank you James for your service, for your courage and sharing your gift.”
German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also spoke at the event and hailed the “community” feel of the games.
He mentioned how the competitors’ refusal to give up set an example and that people who have served their country should never be forgotten.
The Sussexes had been seen earlier in the day dishing out hugs and presenting medals during the medal ceremony for the swimming competition.
Harry and his wife Meghan Markle appeared in high spirits as they applauded competitors when walking out for the closing ceremony, waving flags and joining in with the music.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK