Prince Harry was there to greet a team of wounded warriors who had walked 1,000 miles across Britain. Walking With The Wounded kicked off a few months ago, and the British royal joined the hike at various points across the country with six wounded veterans, both British and American. The team consisted of veterans with both physical and mental injuries, including amputees. Two United States Marines took place in the trek, and one of them is Kirstie Ennis. And at the end of the walk, which concluded at Buckingham Palace on November 1, she gave something to Prince Harry that almost brought him to tears.
Ennis was severely injured when, during a deployment to Afghanistan, the helicopter she was riding in crashed. Her jaw and half of her face were shattered; she’s had to undergo 38 separate operations. And her recovery still isn’t over — she was supposed to have her left leg amputated above the knee this summer, but Ennis chose instead to wait until after the 1,000 mile walk was over. She was in constant pain, and said that it was the hardest thing she’s ever done aside from her rehabilitation. But she had an important mission to carry out.
With her on the walk were 24 dog tags that Ennis had made in memory of Marines who have died. She laid them throughout the journey, and Prince Harry joined her once. “Harry asked if he could lay one with me in Shropshire. We stopped at a castle for lunch and left one of the tags at a war memorial we found in the grounds along with a poem, which Harry read,” she said. When Ennis reached Buckingham Palace, where Harry was there to greet the team, she suddenly decided that she wasn’t going to leave the final dog tag there, as planned. Instead, she decided to present it to the royal himself. She handed him the dog tag for Corporal TJ Baune, a friend of Ennis’ who was killed in an IED blast just ten days before her own helicopter went down. He was only 21 years old when he died, and left behind a wife and a family. Harry, overcome with emotion, originally refused to take it, saying, “No, I can’t, I can’t accept this.” But Ennis insisted. ”
‘I look at situations like that, he never came home, he had a wife and a family but he never came home. The six of us here today did come home, we are actually the lucky ones. The least we can do is share their legacy and honour their memory,” she explained. “Harry was reluctant to accept it at first because he knows how much it means [to me]. He has helped me lay a couple of them and was hesitant to take them as he knows how much it means to me. I told him he had to.” She cried as she gave him the dog tag, and he comforted her with a hug, clearly fighting back tears himself.
If you know someone who might like this, please click “Share!”