2013’s This One’s For You programming on Fox Sports Midwest marks six years for the network and club’s tribute to American troops, and this one the fourth straight.
For the troops being honored by the special broadcast and programming, the United States Armed Forces, this marks the thirteenth straight year of being in active combat of some form or another, at war.
As one who has never experienced such a thing, but has many friends and relatives who have, across many wars and military operations, I am humbled and thankful every day for their dedication and humility. It’s a big part of the reason I still get excited and goosebumpy every time my love for the game of baseball and my pride in our defenders – by extension in some small part, my family and friends – combine in the singing of our National Anthem before a baseball game. This Thursday’s rendition will be particularly special and throat-lump-worthy.
I’ve been told by some of the same family and friends that “war is what we train for.” One friend went a step further, telling me, “imagine if you only ever practiced your job, and never put the learned skills and training to use in a ‘live’ situation. That’s what we do, until we’re at war.” It seemed like such a ho-hum reaction to me. He was deploying to Afghanistan, for the second time. He explained it to me as if going into a war zone was his “real job” and “what he trained for” so this was something he felt was a validation of his training, him “just doing what I get paid for.”
Let that sink in for a minute.
What these heroes don’t get trained for is leaving their loved ones, their beloved spouses, children, parents, pets, and others behind for extended periods of time. So when the Cardinals and FSMW put on This One’s For You, it’s not just about reconnecting these folks overseas with their beloved Redbirds. In fact, it’s very little about that. It’s about reconnecting lives, some semblance of normal on one day, and making our troops feel appreciated.
To me, what my friend does is not just a job, it’s a vocation. It is an occupation that requires an inordinate amount of courage and bravery. It’s something he can do because he’s a hero. He’s definitely one of my heroes. They all are.
So to you, pal. To you and all of your hero friends and comrades, This One’s For You. Go Cards.
This post is brought to you by Nick who writes for Pitchers Hit Eighth on Cards Conclave
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