NEW YORK — Prince Harry and his shock visitor, Meghan Markle, walked the crimson carpet collectively on the Intrepid Museum’s Annual Salute to Freedom Gala on Wednesday evening.
Though it was beforehand identified that Harry could be attending and presenting on the occasion, Meghan’s attendance was merely suspected ― since she was additionally within the metropolis ― however not formally confirmed.
The gala, which “recognizes extraordinary leadership” and honors women and men who serve their nation within the army, was particularly poignant as a result of it fell the day earlier than Veteran’s Day within the U.S. and Remembrance Day within the U.Okay.
Both Harry and Meghan donned Remembrance Day poppies, which are supposed to symbolize the sacrifice of fallen troopers, on the occasion.
The duke himself is a veteran, having served within the British Army for over 10 years, together with finishing two excursions in Afghanistan.
At the occasion, Harry offered the inaugural Valor Awards to recipients who demonstrated “courage and perseverance in the face of great danger or personal struggle.”
The royals met with the award recipients on the crimson carpet. In video footage captured by HuffPost, the Duchess of Sussex turned to recipient Sgt. 1st Class Julian Kitching and referenced their shared alma mater, saying, “So, good to Northwestern, right?”
Kitching appeared shocked, asking the royal, “How did you know that?”
As the group laughed, Meghan smiled and mentioned, “I know something about all of you guys.”
At one other level within the video, she answered a reporter on the crimson carpet who requested if she was happy with her husband by turning and saying, “I’m always proud of my husband.”
HuffPost spoke with Marine veteran Ishmael Alvarado on the crimson carpet, who mentioned this was “a really special event for me.”
“I really appreciate everything that the Intrepid Museum does for veterans and for the community,” he mentioned, including that he’s been coming to the Intrepid Museum for six years and attends the household occasions along with his youngsters.
“I mean, it’s just like a home away from home. It gives me that sense of pride, and the things that I miss now being a civilian, not on active duty,” he mentioned.
Alvarado added that it was “wonderful” to see Prince Harry, a veteran himself, and Jon Bon Jovi, who was honored with the 2021 Intrepid Lifetime Achievement Award for his work with veterans affairs. Alvarado hoped to have an opportunity to talk with the singer as a result of he had danced to one in every of his songs whereas graduating as an 18-year-old non-public top quality.
The Marine mentioned he thinks it’s “good that they’re getting some recognition and understanding the needs of veterans that serve their country” and mentioned he’s seen much less stigma round psychological well being within the veteran group, exemplified by the truth that extra individuals are speaking about it.
“Even with the issues that I deal with, there’s times when I didn’t want to talk,” he mentioned. “We were taught in the military to be tough and to suck it up. And now, it’s not frowned upon realizing that you have mental health issues that you can get from being in service and active duty.”
In his speech on the occasion, Harry kicked issues off by telling viewers members that final week, he “went for a ride on the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile — how’s that for living the American dream!”
He then spoke about his personal army service and touched on a number of the points Alvarado talked about, together with veterans’ “invisible wounds.”
“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,” the prince mentioned.
“For years, we (and our families) orient our entire lives around the mission, the duty, the commitment, and yes — the hurry up and wait. And when we return, we long for the same feelings and contributions: self-purpose, focus, service to others, and being part of a team.”
“As many of us see it, service isn’t loud,” he continued. “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,” he mentioned. “It’s about the camaraderie we share…the laughs, the comfort, the pain, the challenge, and yes, the banter.”
“My experience in the military made me who I am today,” Harry added, “and I will always be grateful for the people I got to serve with — wherever in the world we were. But 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.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are presently visiting New York for one more whirlwind journey, simply weeks after they had been final within the metropolis.
Meghan was on the town for the primary day of the DealBook Online Summit on Tuesday, the place she appeared on the “Minding the Gap” panel alongside Mellody Hobson, co-CEO and president of Ariel Investments, and moderator and DealBook founder and columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin.
During the panel, the duchess spoke about her efforts in advocating for paid parental go away for all, which thus far have included writing a letter to Congress and making calls to each Democratic and Republican senators. She insisted the problem isn’t political.
“I don’t see this as a political issue, frankly,” Meghan mentioned. “Look, there is certainly a precedent amongst my husband’s family and the royal family of not having any involvement in politics. But I think this is ― I mean, paid leave, from my standpoint ― is just a humanitarian issue.”
Later that day, the Duke of Sussex appeared on a panel about misinformation for the 2021 RE:WIRED convention, the place he mentioned he informed Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey a couple of “coup” forward of the U.S. Capitol assault.
“Jack and I were emailing each other prior to January 6 when I warned him his platform was allowing a coup to be staged,” the duke mentioned throughout his panel. “That email was sent the day before. And then it happened and I haven’t heard from him since.”
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