Nationals honor U.S. servicemen

August 16, 2011

The Nationals paid tribute to United States servicemen tonight by wearing caps bearing the insignias of each branch of the military during batting practice: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Navy, including the elite SEALs division, Marines and all military reserves. The Nationals will also wear their alternate blue jersey during the game against the Reds.

The Nationals timed the gesture for tonight, their first home game since 30 US servicemen were killed in a helicopter attack Aug. 6 in Afghanistan. The Nationals were not permitted to wear the caps during the game because of a Major League Baseball policy, but every player wore one of the hats during practice, an array of camouflage, red, white and blue.

The Nationals are also hosting 500 veterans and their families from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Veterans will be throwing out the first pitch, delivering the lineup card and calling, “Play ball” before the first pitch.

The Nationals have a strong history of honoring armed services, and internally they were proud to put this night together. “Anytime we can do something like that, it’s great,” Nationals Principal Owner Mark Lerner said.

Adam Kilgore covers national sports for the Washington Post. Previously he served as the Post's Washington Nationals beat writer from 2010 to 2014.
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