A Fitting Memorial

Today marked the beginning of a six game home stand for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Their first opponent is the red hot San Diego Padres who entered today’s game riding a nine game winning streak. Under the advice of my doctor I am going to restrain from writing about the game today. Neither my nerves nor my blood pressure could take a lengthy diatribe about how the Diamondbacks squandered a six run lead or how once again the team seemed to lack focus both on defense and in the batter’s box. No, I am going to instead focus on the events of the game that have a more positive feel to them. Think of this as my own personal “serenity now” moment.

Today’s game was a day game made possible because it is Memorial Day, a holiday for most of the people in the United States. In a fitting gesture, today was also military appreciation day at Chase Field. I’d love to say that it was quite a coincidence but I have a feeling that someone in the Diamondbacks organization was aware that these two events occurred on the same day.

It was clear from the moment that you approached Chase Field that this was a special day commemorating the service provided by those in the military. Jefferson Street in front of the stadium was blocked off and in the street were military vehicles and members of the National Guard there to answer questions. It was amazing to see some of these machines and the men who were trained to use them. I was especially pleased to see that fans were taking this opportunity to talk with the soldiers and thanking them for the sacrifices they were making to keep us safe and free.

Inside the stadium the Diamondbacks had brought out the red, white, and blue bunting that was last seen on Opening Day. It decorated the stadium façade and brought a very patriotic feel to an otherwise typical baseball field. Arizona brought out members from each branch of the service and introduced them during an on-field ceremony. When each member of the military were introduced there were loud cheers and the ceremony culminated with a standing ovation to the troops. It was an emotional pre-game routine especially so when they introduced the soldier who suffered traumatic injuries as a result of disarming ordinates.

The ceremonial first pitch which is near and dear to my heart was also filled with somber emotion. Presidential candidate and Arizona Senator John McCain’s son in his dress uniform accompanied his mother to the mound where the ceremonial first pitch ball was placed on the mound as a silent first pitch to pay tribute to all of those who lost their lives while serving our great country. There were more than a few tears shed at that moment.

Both the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres wore red hats with their logo in red, white, and blue stripes. These hats are being worn by every team and umpire in Major League Baseball and will be used again on July 4 and September 11. It seemed strange to see these hats but it was a fitting tribute to the military. At three o’clock the game was stopped and everyone in the stadium stood in a national moment of silence to those fallen heroes of the military. This was followed a short time later at the seventh inning stretch with the singing of “God Bless America”. While that song is sung every Sunday at Chase Field during home games today it seemed extra special.

The Arizona Diamondbacks should be commended for the efforts they made to recognize the military and their role in keeping this country safe. It was incredibly meaningful and you could see the looks of appreciation on the faces of the soldiers in attendance at the game. It is events like this that make me very proud to be an American and an Arizona Diamondbacks fan.

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