The 37-year-old Duke of Sussex and wife Meghan Markle attended the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum's Salute to Freedom Gala in New York City on Wednesday, Nov. 10. The couple made a rare red carpet appearance for the event, where the Duchess of Sussex turned heads in a red Carolina Herrera gown.
During his speech, Harry, who was on hand to present the 2021 Intrepid Valor Awards, told the audience about the importance of service members paying attention to the type pain that isn't necessarily physical.
"I'd also like to speak briefly about something else that, until recently, has existed in the darkness: the invisible wounds that we are all susceptible to," he shared. "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."
He continued, "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 and the same, and just as much as we aspire to be physically fit, so too we need to be mentally fit."
Harry explained that this concern is why he launched HeadFIT, a program centered on the mental well-being of military members. Harry himself rose to the rank of Captain within the British Army and served on two tours of duty in Afghanistan before retiring in 2015.
As he told the crowd, it's understandable that "service members often feel isolated" after leaving the forces. He said that years of a mission-driven lifestyle can leave individuals longing for "self-purpose, focus, service to others and being part of a team" when they return home.
"My experience in the military made me who I am today, and I will always be grateful for the people I got to serve with—wherever in the world we were," Harry added.
Read on to see sweet photos of Harry and Meghan from the event, including shots of the couple holding hands while making their way through the museum.