The Invictus Spirit flame has been lit at a ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Kabul.
The flame will travel to Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre in Germany later this month before going to Canada to light the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony in Toronto, symbolising the journey of many service members from the battlefield to the Invictus Games.
Chief Executive of the Invictus Games, Michael Burns, says:
“Many Invictus Games competitors served and became ill or injured in Afghanistan. In fact, 14 of the 17 nations participating in the 2017 Invictus Games had service personnel killed or injured there. Afghanistan is now also indelibly woven into the national fabric of Canadian military history. It is fitting that the Invictus Spirit Flame be lit in Kabul.”
Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan and Gen. John Nicholson, commander of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission, led remarks at the ceremony attended by the Afghan team for the Invictus Games and their families, as well as dozens of Afghan officials and representatives of the Kabul-based diplomatic communities with Games participants. Gen. Nicholson said:
"Invictus is the Latin word for 'unconquered.' I cannot think of a better way to describe the brave Afghans who continue to fight for their country"
The flame represents the wounded warriors’ spirit that despite injury or illness still burns bright, visible in their journey to and participation in the highly competitive Invictus Games.
The flame’s journey will culminate at the Invictus Games Opening Ceremony in Toronto on September 23, where it will be carried onto the stage by a Canadian competitor accompanied by family. They will then light the 'I AM' cauldron, marking the start of the 2017 Invictus Games.