Sports talk: Honor due

Super hooah — Students from Liberty’s ROTC and SMP programs came out in their digicam uniforms to cheer the Flames. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

This article is dedicated to the 173rd Airborne Rangers who died on Nov. 8, 1965 in Bien Hoa, South Vietnam. Four hundred American and Austrailian Rangers fought in bloody hand-to-hand combat with over 1,200 Viet Cong rebels for over 30 hours. Forty-eight Americans were killed. Hundreds more wounded. Severely wounded Lawerence Joel received the Congressional Medal of Honor for saving multiple lives that day.

This article is dedicated to the remembrance of not only the 173rd, but to the thousands of Americans who have fallen in combat in answer of their country’s call.

Liberty’s engagement with Virginia Military Institute celebrated the men and women who have served, whom are serving and those who have died wearing an American flag on their shoulder.

It became clear at the halftime festivities that the score was irrelevant. The end result — Liberty outlasting VMI 37-31 in a blow-for-blow thriller — was simply a backdrop, a vehicle to honor those who have served in the Armed Forces.

A contingent of Liberty’s Eagle Batallion Army ROTC, National Guard Liberty students, Air Force and Marine ROTC students formed a camoflauge block amidst a swath of bright red T-shirts.

No one stood out more.

A company of blue and white clad VMI cadets filled a section opposite the Liberty student section.

The Batallion waved an American flag and dropped onto the railing to knock out some pushups when Liberty scored. What’s a military function without a little motivational PT, right?

As the lonesome, haunting notes of Taps came floating over a silent 17,266-person crowd and an honor guard gun-salute rang out, I could not feel more proud of my father, my grandfather, his father and grandfather, my brother and the thousands of others who have worn the uniform.

It made the game of football seem meaningless in comparison to their sacrifice.

To the men and women of our Armed Forces, this reporter and this publication salute you and your sacrifice.

Thank you.

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