Nearly two months after the Paralympic-style competition was postponed, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex's Invictus Games message urged participants to continue to remain positive, even as "life has changed dramatically." On Saturday, Harry shared a video message on Twitter, commemorating what would have been the opening ceremony for the Invictus Games 2020.
Harry began with a message about Victory Day, which falls on May 8 and marks the allied victories in World War II, noting that the weekend would "pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the entire second World War generation" and that veterans "should've also been gathering together in the Netherlands to kick start the Invictus Games 2020 in The Hague."
He also noted that "life has changed dramatically" since the last time he was in the Hague, but the Invictus Games 2020 organizers have "done an incredible job to adapt so quickly to the situation, and are busy planning dates for next year." He promised that, "the new dates will be shared with you very soon." The royal also encouraged participants to continue to support each other from afar, stating, "I hope all of those in the Invictus family are coping well and supporting each other through these challenging times."
The Invictus Games, a competition for injured military personnel for which Harry is a patron, were originally scheduled to begin this weekend in the Hague, The Netherlands. In March, the Duke of Sussex confirmed the event would be rescheduled until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. "This was an incredibly difficult decision for all of us to have make," he said. "But this decision was the most sensible and the safest option."
On Saturday, Harry urged participants to check in on each other as the coronavirus pandemic continues, saying, "please look out for those who have gone quiet or are no longer visible on the chat sites." He added that throughout the week the community would be "hearing from many Invictus competitors" and "their experience and resilience with mental health challenges is something we can all learn lessons from." Harry has been a vocal about ending mental health stigma, and in addition to his work with the Invictus Games, is a co-founder of the Heads Together foundation.
For any participant or their family disappointed that the games have been postponed, the Invictus Games will be hosting a variety of virtual activities. The Invictus Games Foundation will host a "virtual conference with international speakers and participants sharing their thoughts and experience of resilience and why the Invictus spirit is so important," per the official site.
Harry urged Invictus Games supporters to stay tuned for both the virtual events that will take place in lieu of the competition in the Hague, and updates about the rescheduled event dates. Even amid all the uncertainty, the Invictus Games are about resilience, and Harry seemed confident that the athletes would all be together again soon.
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