Prince Harry, the younger son of Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana, offered his condolences to September 11 victims Friday in his first official trip overseas.
Harry's two-day visit to New York, surrounded by public officials and community activists, could reflect a change in a public image that has been marred by several incidents, including a one-day stint in drug rehab in 2002 and accusations of racism in January.
At the outset of his visit, Harry stopped at ground zero with New York Gov. David Paterson and briefly talked with family members of September 11 victims. The prince then laid a wreath at the World Trade Center site and bowed his head in a moment of silence.
He left a handwritten note tacked to the wreath, citing an "admiration of the courage shown by the people" of New York on September 11, 2001.
I enjoyed Harry more when he was stumbling out of a bar, vomiting and assaulting paparazzi. At least then both he and the camera wielding parasites were the only ones who suffered the consequences of the prince’s self indulgence.
His latest bit of self indulgence is just plain asinine. Sure, you can make the argument that going to the frontlines in Afghanistan is certainly brave and heroic. That’s if you’re not a prince. If you are, it’s just plain stupid and selfish.
Why endanger your fellow soldiers? The media is just as guilty (including our own show). Media outlets made a deal that if they kept his deployment secret they would be rewarded with pool footage of Harry serving his country that they could use once he had left Afghanistan. Within minutes after the secret got out though, there it was.
That’s Harry holding a rifle! Wow! Watch Harry shoot a machine gun! That’s Harry calling in an airstrike! Doesn’t Harry look so rugged and handsome with his sand-encrusted hair and snug fatigues?
Such a brave and strapping man Princess Diana’s son has turned out to be. Don’t you think?
And don’t think for a second that Harry isn’t in any real danger as all the correspondents so dutifully pointed out. He really is on the front lines. Our Michael Ware said so.
But so are about 150,000 brave Americans who for the last several months have all but disappeared from the TV screens because viewers have grown tired of hearing about the war. The ratings always dip when we cover it.
Never mind the countless families who sit home praying their loved ones will return home safely after serving year long tours of duty for the second or third time.
Never mind the extreme financial hardship these families are suffering.
Never mind the kids who joined the reserves just as a way to pay for college but instead were sent to the battlefield.
Never mind the “other” war, the forgotten war in Afghanistan.
Well, forgotten at least until the hunky Prince showed up.
– Joey Gardner, Executive Administrative Assistant
Prince Harry is leaving.
28,000 Americans are not.
They are the men and women of the U.S. military currently in Afghanistan.
Many are in combat and on the front lines. But as CNN’s Nic Robertson explained to Anderson last night, the front lines are practically everywhere in that war-torn nation.
Media outlets around the world are transfixed on the Harry story. News organizations, including CNN, continue to report on his mission. It is a story worth telling. He is a public figure. A royal one.
At the same time, this is also a good reality check.
Harry may not want to go home. But he is.
You can also be sure our heroes also want to return to the states, to see their children, their families, their friends.
But they cannot. Not yet.
We may not have a throne, but we are a country with princes and princesses, kings and queens.
And they are serving our nation right now.
– Gabriel Falcon, 360° Writer
I first saw the news on a website popular amongst us media types this morning: “Web Exclusive: Prince Harry is fighting the front lines in Afghanistan.”
I was shocked and my first thought was about the safety of the troops serving with him. Gen. Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the British Army, released a statement today saying:
"It was my judgement that with an understanding with the media not to broadcast his whereabouts, the risk in (deploying him to Afghanistan) was manageable. Now that the story is in the public domain, the Chief of Defence Staff and I will take advice from the operational commanders about whether his deployment can continue."
He also said,"I am very disappointed that foreign Web sites have decided to run this
story without consulting us."
What do you think? Was the website right in reporting this today? Was the safety of Prince Harry and his fellow soldiers compromised?
On 360° tonight, Nic Robertson will have the latest on this story, including an interview with Prince Harry and exclusive access to him on the front lines.
– Kay Jones/360° Guest Producer
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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