If we were having coffee this Sunday evening, you would think that I was being terribly rude, and I am afraid that you’d be correct. It is not very sociable to have the TV on when one has company, but not even you, dear blogging friends, are going to distract me from viewing the opening of the Invictus Games in Orlando.
You may help yourselves to as much tea, coffee, wine, beer, soft drinks and snacks, but please join me in watching some of the most inspiring people in the whole world. Find yourself a seat and make yourself comfortable. This is going to be a terrific party!
The word “Invictus” means “unconquered.” It embodies the fighting spirit of the wounded, ill, and injured Service members and what these tenacious men and women can achieve, post injury. The Games harness the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for those whom serve their countries.
They are dapper celebrity choirmaster Gareth Malone ’s latest project.
Some could already sing, others needed teaching from scratch. But all 10 members of the Invictus Choir have one thing in common. They are rebuilding their lives after suffering while serving Queen and country.
They met just two months ago but on Sunday they performed at the opening ceremony of this year’s Invictus Games , for wounded ex-servicemen and women, in Orlando, Florida, in front of Prince Harry and Michelle Obama and an audience of thousands.
They even penned a new song, Flesh and Blood, inspired by their harrowing experiences.
Gareth says: “I sobbed like a baby after I talk to some of them. They’re all in the same boat; they have to redefine their lives. This will be a marker in their lives. By the time we’re finished they’ll have sung about their vulnerabilities, their weaknesses and their strengths to millions.”
Allow me to introduce you to just one of these heroes (You can browse through the others if you have the time on your hands):
Private Paul Jacobs was just 21 when he was blown up as a fellow soldier stepped on a bomb in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in the spring of 2009.
Paul said: “I should be dead. Shrapnel cut through my right eye, through the right side of my nose and up into the brain.”
The blast also blew away chunks of his right arm and leg. Despite his horrific injuries he managed to carry his fatally injured colleague out of the minefield.
Paul was left with only 20% vision in one eye but an operation to improve it went wrong and he was left blind.
In hospital he fell for Louise, one of the health assistants nursing him, and they married in 2010. They have a four-year-old son.
Paul has climbed Kilimanjaro and aims to be the first blind veteran to conquer Everest and swim the English Channel.
He hopes to compete at the Paralympics in the future before working in the charity sector.
You don’t need sight to have vision.
You’ve just got to pick yourself up and keep dusting yourself off.
What a fantastic quote from an heroic young man!
Click on the “Invictus Choir” sub-title further up this page to read the stories of four more incredible members of this amazing choir: Captain Bernie Bambury, Lieutenant Colonel Stewart Hill, Sergeant Andy Mudd and Lance Corporal Maurillia Simpson.
You can sit and do that while we sip on our drinks, nibble on our snacks and watch and listen to the Opening Ceremony.
My hope is, now that I have explained why I am being so rude, you will understand, accept, and enjoy this with me.
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