Baseball Hosts Military Appreciation Day
April 2, 2011
RALEIGH, N.C. – NC State baseball coach Elliott Avent wants Sunday afternoon at Doak Field at Dail Park to be something special.
At 1 p.m., the Wolfpack will host Wake Forest in the finale of a three-game ACC series. But even more importantly for Avent, the game will serve as baseball’s annual Military Appreciation Day, to honor service men and women who have been invited to attend the game.
“I want a packed house every game, but I think we ought to do everything we can to pack the house for Military Appreciation Day,” Avent said. “We’re just glad to be able to honor them in just a small way. I think it’s something the whole county would step back and do a little more of every single day.
“I think the military, and the young men and women who serve and sacrifice for our country, is one of the least recognized facets of our nation. I’m not sure we ever do enough to honor and recognize what they do for us.”
U.S. Army Col. Martin Schweitzer of Fort Bragg’s 82nd Airborne Brigade Combat Team will serve as the honorary team captain and throw out the game’s first pitch. The game ball will arrive via paratroopers who will land in right-center field 15 minutes before game time.
NC State’s Army ROTC will have a Hummer display outside the box office and an informational table just inside the gate. It will also provide free food just outside the student entrance to the park.
The first 400 fans at the game will receive free NC State baseball camouflage T-shirts.
Among the many service men and women from North Carolina’s numerous military bases will be groups representing the Wounded Warriors Project, Wake Forest Junior ROTC and Special Airmen from Pope Air Force Base. All will be recognized during the game.
Many of the pregame activities will be held on Lee Field, the open space between Doak Field at Dail Park and Lee Dormitory, which is named in honor of one of NC State’s most famous military alumni and the Father of the U.S. Airborne Division, Gen. William C. Lee.
Lee played football and baseball at NC State prior to World War II and went on to have a well-chronicled career as an American military hero.
At 11 a.m., a U.S. Army Apache helicopter will land on Lee Field and will be a featured attraction throughout the game. Other activities on Lee Field prior to the game include a rock-climbing wall and Army go-carts.
NC State has military roots that date back to the founding of the college in 1887. In both World War I and World War II, NC State turned its campus over for officer training and for military instruction. Over the years, NC State has produced more generals and admirals than any college other than the military academies and continues to maintain strong ROTC programs at Reynolds Coliseum.
“Sunday is a great chance for everyone to understand the history of how our young men and women have served and helped make us free,” said Avent, whose father served in the U.S. Navy. “It gives you a better appreciation for the things we are able to enjoy every day.”
• By Tim Peeler, firstname.lastname@example.org.