With a dramatic four helicopter flyover and the unfurling of a giant American flag that nearly filled the football field, Sunday’s Washington Redskins game delighted the crowd, despite the team being defeated in a close match with rival Minnesota.
America’s active duty military and veterans were honored at the Washington Redskins annual “Salute to Service” game on Sunday, Nov. 12. A crowd of nearly 75,000 people packed FedExField stadium to see the home game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Many service members participated in Salute to Service at Sunday’s game. Prior to the kick-off, 150 service members took part in the pre-game flag display.
Daniel Cortez, a retired United States Marine from Virginia and descendant of the Tolteca Aztec Indian tribe, sang the National Anthem. First Helicopter Squadron out of Andrews Air Force Base performed the helicopter unit flyover following the Anthem. First Helicopter Squadron Master Sergeant Kerry Wilkerson sang “God Bless America” with the U.S. Army Band.
A special military challenge coin, designed and created by USAA, the Official Military Appreciation Sponsor of the Washington Redskins, was presented by the Redskins for the official coin toss. Challenge coins are traditionally given by one member of the military to another to reward or encourage excellence, boost morale or to recognize fellow brother-or sister-in-arms.
A service member participated in the team tunnel flag run-out during team introduction. Following up, the Redskins players ran into the stadium, with a resulting thunderous applause from the crowd.
Walk of Life participants were honored by the Redskins at the game. The men, Joseph Cox, Adam Lingo and Russ Collins, walked from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. to spotlight the staggering number of veterans who commit suicide daily. It took them 22 weeks to walk from LA to D.C., arriving in the Nation’s Capital on Veterans Day, according to the Redskins.
During halftime, a special vignette was shown on the HD video boards featuring the Redskins Salute’s military events and initiatives in partnership with USAA.
A Black Hawk helicopter was on display and its pilots were recognized on the field during halftime. Army Humvee vehicles, an Army MATV vehicle and an Army activation trailer were exhibited outside the stadium.
At half-time, the Military Order of the Purple Heart hosted a recognition of Purple Heart recipients. A U.S. Army Enlistment Ceremony was officiated by the Deputy Commanding General Operations of U.S. Army.
Redskins Salute, the Official Military Appreciation Club of the Washington Redskins, is free for current or former military members and their families. More than 72,000 strong, Redskins Salute launched in 2014 and offers year-round activities for active military, their families and veterans.
Throughout 2017, Redskins Salute and USAA teamed up to recognize veterans and active duty service members and to connect local military with the team. At the Redskins Training Camp in Richmond in August, USAA hosted an NFL Boot Camp for local military on the practice field, followed by a VIP viewing of the team’s practice.
During pre-season, USAA and the team hosted a base practice at Joint Base Andrews in Prince George’s County, Md., where military members were invited to a VIP viewing of the walk-through.
In October, USAA hosted a unit interaction at Joint Base Andrews, where Redskins players experienced the daily responsibilities of the base. The players interacted with the 113th wing, D.C. Air National Guard in a visit to the F-16 hangar where they tested flight equipment and met with military members.
Held during the weekend of Veteran’s Day, the Nov. 12 Salute to Service game was the capstone of the Redskins Salute 2017 programs. While the Redskins lost the game to the Vikings in a close game, 38 – 30, the crowd clearly reveled in the Sunday’s Salute to Service activities.
During the game Tight End Vernon Davis caught a season-high seven passes for 76 yards. Davis was the recipient of the 2017 Redskins Salute Award in August. Given out annually, the award is presented to the current or past player who has given the most support to the military and their families. See: Earnhardt Jr, Redskins, Awards
Next up the Redskins face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, Nov. 19 at home at FedExField with a 1:00 PM game time.
All Photos courtesy of Sharon Reed