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Major League Baseball, Soccer to Salute Troops on Flag Day

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2003 – Spectators at 13 Major League Baseball games and one Major League Soccer game will have the opportunity to honor America's military forces June 14, Flag Day.

Thirteen baseball stadiums will display American flags that have flown over the Pentagon, defense officials said. Baseball officials at each game will announce the significance of the flags before the national anthem is sung.

Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the New York Yankees vs. St. Louis Cardinals game at Yankee Stadium that day as well.

"This is a great opportunity for Americans enjoying America's pastime to honor their military forces on Flag Day," said Brent Krueger, DoD's director of community relations and public liaison.

The D.C. United soccer team will host "Armed Forces Appreciation Day" June 14, which is also the Army's 228th birthday. Pre-game festivities and events throughout the day will honor military members and their families, and military members and families will get tickets to that day's game in Washington's RFK Stadium at less than half price.

"D.C. United is proud to salute all of our area service men and women and their families," D.C. United Senior Vice President and General Manager Stephen Zack said in a written release. "We hope this game will be a small distraction for those who have served abroad and their families, and we wish all the troops still in harm's way a safe return home."

The Naval Color Guard is scheduled to present the colors, while Army Spc. Rosalyn Bennett will sing the national anthem. Following that, the D.C. Air National Guard's 113th Wing will conduct a fly-over. Army Maj. Marvin Jones of the D.C. National Guard will deliver a ceremonial kick-off, and the U.S. Navy's Ceremonial Drill Team will perform at halftime.

The events are part of the Pentagon's Operation Tribute to Freedom, a grass- roots effort to salute the military, rekindle the relationship between Americans and their service members, and remind the American public that the war on terrorism is ongoing.

The 13 stadiums that will fly American flags from the Pentagon are Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore; Fenway Park, Boston; U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago; Jacobs Field, Cleveland; Comerica Park, Detroit; Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.; the Metrodome, Minneapolis; Yankee Stadium, New York; Network Associates Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.; Safeco Field, Seattle; The Ballpark, Arlington, Texas; Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.; and Edison Field, Anaheim, Calif.

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