Britain's Prince Harry accepted an award for his charitable work with wounded soldiers during a black tie event Monday in Washington, his first visit to the city.
Harry, an Apache helicopter pilot in the British military, told guests at the awards dinner that many servicemen and women have "paid a terrible price and keep us safe and free."
"The very least we owe them is to make sure that they and their brave families have everything they need for the darkest days, and, in time, regain the hope and confidence to flourish again," Harry said.
Harry, 27, was being recognized along with his older brother Prince William for their charitable foundation's work. Harry, the third in line to the British throne after his father and brother, has worked with a number of charities. Those include Walking with the Wounded, a British charity that retrains and re-educates veterans, and Help for Heroes, which helps wounded servicemen and women.
Harry served as an air controller in Afghanistan for 10 weeks during 2007 and 2008, but was sent home early after details were made public. Last year he joined four soldiers who had been wounded in Afghanistan for part of their expedition to walk to the North Pole.
"For these selfless people, it is after the guns have fallen silent, the din of the battle quietened, that the real fight begins, a fight that may last for the rest of their lives," Harry said.
Harry, who spoke for about five minutes, urged Americans and the British to work together to heal and support wounded veterans, pooling expertise and experience.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell presented Harry with the humanitarian leadership award from the Washington-based think tank the Atlantic Council. Powell joked that Harry's presence meant that the average age for the annual awards dinner dropped 25 years.
"We have a record number of young, single women attending this year," Powell said.
The award doesn't come with any money; honorees get a glass globe trophy.
The annual award ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel also honored violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, who received an artistic leadership award, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who accepted an international leadership award.
"I believe the United Nations can and must be the solution to the world's great challenges," Ban said.
Earlier in the day, Harry was at the British Ambassador's Residence to visit with wounded veterans who last week participated in Warrior Games, an athletic competition for injured military members. He also helped plant a tree in honor of his visit and in honor of his grandmother's 60 years as British monarch. Queen Elizabeth II is marking her Diamond Jubilee this year.
Follow Jessica Gresko on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jessicagresko