Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Harry honours America's war dead

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09:  (L-R) Dr. Jill Biden the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, HRH Prince Harry and first lady Michelle Obama prepare to attend an event to honor military families at the White House during the first day of his visit to the United States on May 9, 2013 in Washington, DC. HRH will be undertaking engagements on behalf of charities with which the Prince is closely associated on behalf also of HM Government, with a central theme of supporting injured service personnel from the UK and US forces.  (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09: (L-R) Dr. Jill Biden the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, HRH Prince Harry and first lady Michelle Obama prepare to attend an event to honor military families at the White House during the first day of his visit to the United States on May 9, 2013 in Washington, DC. HRH will be undertaking engagements on behalf of charities with which the Prince is closely associated on behalf also of HM Government, with a central theme of supporting injured service personnel from the UK and US forces. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09:  (L-R) Dr. Jill Biden the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, HRH Prince Harry and first lady Michelle Obama prepare to attend an event to honor military families at the White House during the first day of his visit to the United States on May 9, 2013 in Washington, DC. HRH will be undertaking engagements on behalf of charities with which the Prince is closely associated on behalf also of HM Government, with a central theme of supporting injured service personnel from the UK and US forces.  (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09: (L-R) Dr. Jill Biden the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, HRH Prince Harry and first lady Michelle Obama prepare to attend an event to honor military families at the White House during the first day of his visit to the United States on May 9, 2013 in Washington, DC. HRH will be undertaking engagements on behalf of charities with which the Prince is closely associated on behalf also of HM Government, with a central theme of supporting injured service personnel from the UK and US forces. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince Harry with children who are making presents for their mothers, during a visit to the White House

Prince Harry has honoured America's war dead and its greatest post-war president, John F Kennedy, by laying floral tributes at a national cemetery commemorating the country's fallen heroes.

Harry visited Arlington National Cemetery in Washington to pay his respects to servicemen and women who fought and died for the US.

In contrast to the screaming young women who greeted the Prince when he arrived in Washington on Thursday for the start of his seven-day tour, there was a dignified silence throughout the cemetery.

Arlington plays an important role in the life of America as it holds the remains of soldiers involved in every conflict the US has fought in along with leading military figures.

Harry, a Captain in the British Army, wore his Household Cavalry's Blues and Royals No 1 dress uniform and the light blue beret of the Army Air Corps. He paid his respects at the grave of former President Kennedy, who was assassinated almost 50 years ago in November 1963, leaving a bouquet of flowers.

The Prince, who is 28, knelt on one knee and placed the blooms on the tombstone, which lies next to an eternal flame, then stood to attention, bowed his head and paused for a moment in quiet reflection. A St James's Palace spokesman said: "It was an appropriate gesture to recognise the passing of President Kennedy 50 years after his death."

At the cemetery's Section 60 - where US troops who have been killed in recent conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan are buried - Harry laid a wreath.

The floral tribute was placed closed to a grave chosen at random from thousands - that of Army Specialist Michael Stansbery Jnr, an artilleryman who was killed, aged 21, in Afghanistan in 2010 by an improvised explosive device while on a foot patrol.

A hand-written card on the wreath read: "To my comrades in arms of the United States of America, who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of freedom, Captain Harry Wales."

After placing the wreath, the Prince stood to attention and saluted the grave, before walking alone through the rows of headstones surrounding it, pausing several times to read individual inscriptions.

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