Memorial Day is known for flying flags, enjoying a big cookout, and thanking our military for all they do. It's worth remembering, however, that these kinds of thank-yous don't have to be confined to holidays.
Nashville Predators Military Salute
I know sometimes people think I'm too critical of the Predators on various points, but one thing which I will give them enduring credit for is the Military Salute that's become a part of every home game. Each night, one veteran is honored with a video tribute and a standing ovation from the crowd, and while it is a regular presence on a game night at Bridgestone Arena, it is far from routine.
One night early this season stood out in particular to me. As pictures of a soldier scrolled across the megatron, and PA announcer Paul McCann recounted his military accomplishments, the camera cut to his family in attendance, and Paul made the announcement that this hero had recently died in service to our country. The roar that rose from the crowd that night was thunderous, heartfelt, and simply bursting with a mixture of sympathy and gratitude for that soldier's family. It may well have been the loudest, most moving ovation of the season.
Here's to hoping that the Military Salute remains a Predators tradition for years to come. People sometimes wonder why things like that, or the playing of the national anthem are still done at sporting events, but they support what I consider to be positive social norms - respect for our national institutions and the individuals who make the commitment to serve in them.
So thank you to all the active and retired military personnel who make our freedoms possible, and to the family & friends who support them.
While you're in a thankful mood, I'll ask that you head over and check out Not Alone, a non-profit organization which assists soldiers and their families cope with the lingering effects of combat stress.