Those in Australia, and other participating nations, would be aware that Sydney just hosted the Invictus Games 2018. The Games website reveals that there is a story behind the Games:
The word ‘Invictus’ is Latin for ‘unconquered’ and embodies the fighting spirit of our wounded, injured and ill servicemen and women. They have been tested and challenged, but they have not been overcome. They have proven that by embracing each other and the support of family and friends, they can reclaim their future. They are Invictus.
Most of us will never know the horrors of combat. Horrors so great that many servicemen and women suffer life-changing injuries, both visible and invisible, while serving their countries, while serving us. How do these men and women find the motivation to move on and not be defined by their injuries? How can we challenge perceptions and send a positive message about life beyond disability to an international audience?
More of the story can be read on this link.
But, I wish to look at one of the, shall we say, back stories behind the poem ‘Invictus’ chosen as the poem for the Games. The poem is by William Ernest Henley and the Invictus Games website tells us that Henley…
was himself an amputee and the poem reflects his long battle with illness. The title means “unconquered” and the 16 short lines of the poem encapsulate the indefatigable human spirit, which is at the heart of the Invictus Games.
For more about Henley see The Poetry Foundation biographical notes. An excerpt of his poem, ‘Invictus’ is below:
The full text can be found here.
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