The Invictus Games’ Spirit Flame landed in Germany on Tuesday and was transported to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre, a key surgical treatment centre for wounded soldiers, including Canadians who were injured in Afghanistan.
The flame was l it during a ceremony on Aug. 9 at the Afghanistan Presidential Palace in Kabul.
“As preparations for the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 reach their final phase, it is important to take a moment to remember why we are doing this. The brave men and women who arrived here were, for perhaps the first time in their lives, badly in need of someone else’s help. And they received it, here in Germany at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center with the help of the outstanding medical staff and the support for the families from Fisher House, they were able to begin to rebuild their lives. Without the care that they received here, many would not have made the journey to Invictus Games competitor and to be on their way to Toronto in September,” said Michael Burns, CEO, Invictus Games Toronto 2017.
Germany is the second stop on Spirit Flame’s journey to Canada for the Invictus Games Opening Ceremony in Toronto on Sept. 23. The journey of the Spirit Flame is retracing the route many of the Games competitors took themselves, from injury to treatment to the return home to the road to recovery.
“A return to LRMC for me is quite an emotional time. This is where 10 years ago I was struggling for my life and I lost my leg. This is where doctors and nurses kept me alive. It will be a privilege to visit these people and to receive the Spirit Flame in transit from Kabul towards Toronto. The Spirit Flame, to me, is representing the ideals held by the soldiers who we lost over there. Personally, I will think of the soldiers fallen under my command and the Afghans and allies who suffered in combat with us. Holding it will be a duty and an honour,” said Maj. Simon Mailloux, co-captain of the Team Canada.
Mailloux was accompanied by fellow Team Canada captain Cpl. (ret’d) Chris Klodt to Germany to receive the flame. It was also an opportunity for both individuals to thank the medical staff at Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre for saving their lives.
“For me, the return to Landstuhl is an opportunity to express my gratitude to the people who made it possible for me to make the flight home. Not only were they good to me but I am forever grateful for the way they cared for my family during such a horrific time.” commented Cpl. (retired) Klodt.
Minister of Veteran Affairs Canada, Kent Hehr, was also in attendance.
“It is an honour to be able to participate in the ceremonies here at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center to pay tribute to the indomitable spirit of Invictus Games competitors and to recognize the incredible, lifesaving work undertaken by its medical personnel on those Canadian forces injured in Afghanistan and other overseas operations. Our government is very excited to support this year’s Invictus Games in Toronto, as well as the many lead-up events occurring across our great nation which acknowledge and celebrate the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform, our Veterans and their families,” said Hehr.