MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Twins and the Minnesota National Guard today announced plans for the team's 10th anniversary of Armed Forces Appreciation Day to honor veterans and active service members from all five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. This year the Minnesota Twins commemorate 50 years since the Vietnam War began. Thomson Reuters has generously donated 1,000 tickets for active and retired members of the U.S. Military, which have been distributed by the Minnesota National Guard.
Through the "Seats for Soldiers" program, many Thomson Reuters Champions Club season ticket holders and suite holders have generously donated their seats and suites to wounded service members and their families. Gold Star Families, whose family members have served and died while on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States of America or its allies, will also be hosted in donated suites.
"Thanks to Thomson Reuters, Twins Suite Holders and Champions Club members for generously donating tickets for veterans and military service members," said Army Lt. Col. Kevin A. Olson, Minnesota National Guard Director of Public Affairs. "We're looking forward to an exciting day honoring our valued service members and to providing all service members and their families with a well-deserved day at the ballpark."
A special pregame ceremony is planned prior to the 1:10 p.m. game against the Kansas City Royals. Fans are encouraged to arrive by 12:15 p.m. to see the pregame elements.
Starting at 12:20 p.m. special pregame elements include:
- The Minnesota National Guard's 34th Red Bull Infantry Division Rock Combo Band
- John Hines serving as the on-field emcee
- Thomson Reuters honoring their military and veteran employees
- A special recognition of Twins and Delaware North Sportservice employees who have a military affiliation.
- An on-field recognition ceremony of Vietnam veterans and veterans of the Hmong Special Guerrilla Unit.
- A special memorial tribute to service members from Twins Territory who have died while on active duty since October 2012.
- Ceremonial first pitches thrown by Tim Reed (retired US Army Reserve Officer whose son is currently deployed in Afghanistan) and Frank Presfield (Vietnam Veteran and State Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Minnesota).
- An unfurling of a giant flag by members of the Armed Forces
- Retired Gen. Denny Schulstad presents a check on behalf of the Minnesotan's Military Appreciation Fund to four Purple Heart recipients
- Raising of the American Flag by Merlyn Gehrls, former Private First Class with the 3rd Marine Division. Merlyn was involved in the invasion of Guam in 1944 and landed on Iwo Jima on D-Day on February 19, 1945. He witnessed the historic flag raising on Mount Suribci on February 23, 1945, was wounded in action on the sixth day of the invasion and was hospitalized for 4 months where he was awarded the Purple Heart.
- Raising of the Twins Territory Flag by children of military families
- The National Anthem will be performed by Army Staff Sgt. Christina Oanes of the Minnesota National Guard