Meghan Markle and Prince Harry hit the red carpet for a New York City event honouring veterans, in advance of Remembrance Day and, in the U.S., Veterans Day.
The royals attended the 2021 Salute to Freedom gala at the Intrepid Museum on Wednesday, Nov. 10, with Harry donning a sleek back tux while the Duchess of Sussex wore red Carolina Herrera gown, with both sporting poppies.
According to People, a reporter on the red carpet asked Meghan if she was proud of her husband, to which she replied, “I’m always proud of him.”
Meghan and Harry arrive at the Salute to Freedom Gala to meet with Valor Award recipients pic.twitter.com/y6I2omYgEi
— Carly Ledbetter (@ledbettercarly) November 10, 2021
Prince Harry, who served in British Army for 10 years, was on hand to present the event’s inaugural Intrepid Valor Awards.
Also attending the event was Jon Bon Jovi, who had previously collaborated with Prince Harry to record a song for his Invictus Games, in addition to receiving the 2021 Intrepid Lifetime Achievement Award for his role as chairman of the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation.
According to People, the Intrepid Museum’s Salute to Freedom “gala recognizes extraordinary leadership and honors the brave men and women” who serve in defense of the U.S.
“We are so grateful to Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex for honouring and amplifying the stories of these heroes and helping to raise awareness for mental health support for our men and women in uniform,” said Susan Marenoff-Zausner, president of the Intrepid Museum, in a press release.
In his speech Harry, praised the award recipients, “a group of men and women whose lives are defined by service, purpose and resilience. This night is about [the honorees]. As many of us see it, service isn’t loud. Service is what happens in the quiet and when people aren’t looking. It’s about how we take care of each other every day. It’s about the camaraderie we share…the laughs, the comfort, the pain, the challenge, and yes, the banter.”
He continued by referencing his own decade in the army. “Throughout my time in the military and after, I recognized and understood that for many who have served or are still serving — it might not feel right to stand out amongst the team and be recognized. But you deserve to be — and tonight, whether you like it or not, that is what’s happening. So, soak it up!”
Harry also brought up something that ” has existed in the darkness: the invisible wounds that we are all susceptible to. The scars on the inside that no one sees. For too long, invisible injuries were treated as just that — invisible — and were destined to be swept under the rug at the risk of shame, guilt, or just a lack of understanding. Yet we now know that the mind is just like a muscle. It experiences trauma and pain, whether in conflict or at home, whether in uniform or not. It needs training…as well as recovery and care, no matter who you are and no matter what you do. Our physical health and mental health are one in the same, and just as much as we aspire to be physically fit, so too we need to be mentally fit. That’s a belief I held when we pioneered HeadFit, a first-of-its-kind resource for servicemembers and those working across UK Defence, to train their minds just like they do their bodies. That’s how we get to ultimate human performance and unlock unknown potential in every single one of us. It is a belief I still hold as I work to increase access to mental fitness tools for all people across the world with the online coaching platform BetterUp.”
As he pointed out, “in war, you also see and experience things you hope no one else has to. These stay with us, sometimes like a slideshow of images. That’s why I created the Invictus Games. Not only to honour the legacy of those who have given so much, but to show everyone else what we know: that the men and women who have experienced service injuries, as well as their families, are the strongest people in the world…and they deserve a platform to be seen, a platform to be recognizsed, and a platform to be truly celebrated. By doing this, we can continue to be inspired by their resilience and humility… You have experienced, seen, and dealt with things that few have had to —t hough the crises we are increasingly experiencing as communities are not only felt by those in the military world, but by everyone. Nevertheless, you are part of an everlasting bond. You are part of the team of teams. And we will always have your backs. You are not alone.”