I should preface this by saying that I was born to a military family. My father was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany and I was born in the 97th General Hospital while he was there. That said, by the time I was old enough to remember anything, he had finished his service and we were in the United States.
Tonight, Fox Sports Midwest will air their broadcast to soldiers in Afghanistan while their families and friends gather at Busch Stadium to watch the St. Louis Cardinals take on the Cincinnati Reds. The Cardinals and the cable network dedicated to covering the team will pay tribute to both the soldiers and those that support them.
If I am to be completely honest with you, I don’t understand.
I can’t. I simply will never understand what these families are going through. A young man will sit in Busch Stadium watching his favorite team playing a game while his parent gets the rare opportunity to tune in to that exact game. If the production crew gets the chance and the stars align properly, the soldier will catch a glimpse of the child. Or a spouse. Or a parent.
For a fleeting moment, a soldier can possibly get the chance to witness a family on the other side of the planet enjoying the exact same experience. I don’t understand what that must feel like. To be that far away. To have to get up at four in the morning to enjoy that experience.
Just like an infomercial, it’s not over there. But wait…there’s more.
My understanding cannot imagine what they feel through all of that. Even more, I cannot imagine the feeling of gratitude they must feel toward the Cardinals and Fox Sports Midwest for their help in making it happen. It is not a small feat, but the team and the network make it happen every year.
There is one thing I understand: the soldiers and their loved ones deserve every minute of it.
For one night, the distance and the separation fade away. For one night, the family shares an experience again. For one night we are all reminded of the sacrifice these people make for our freedoms.
That I can understand. For that, I’m extremely thankful.
Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball.
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