MAY 26, 2015, NEW YORK (NNS) – The New York Mets and the USO hosted their annual Military Appreciation Day on Memorial Day at Citi Field, May 25.
Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus was on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch alongside service members from the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Army and Air Force, as the Mets took on the Philadelphia Phillies. The national anthem was performed by Musician 2nd Class Laura Carey, assigned to U.S. Navy Band Northeast.
The event honored the men and women of the Armed Forces, both present and past. Baseball fans were treated to a performance by the USO Show Troupe; a special re-enlistment ceremony; members of the U.S. Army Black Knights of West Point parachuted into the stadium; and Mabus recited the oath of enlistment with a group of new Navy, Marines, Army and Air Force recruits.
“I have been dreaming of stepping on this field since I was a little kid,” said Patrick Campomizzy, a Hawthorne, New Jersey resident and part of the Navy’s Delayed Entry Program (DEP). “It’s just the biggest honor I think I have ever received.”
Jansel Baez, also a Navy DEP, hopes to go into the Navy’s nuclear engineering program.
“I think it is amazing to know that we are being sworn in by someone who is the head of one of the branches of the military, in front of actual veterans on Memorial Day,” said Baez. “I will cherish this moment for the rest of my life.”
Among the many baseball fans in attendance were Ellie O’Connor, a math teacher from Wilmington, Delaware, and Aileen Cunnane, a Long Island resident who just returned from Thailand where she taught chemistry to high school students abroad.
“It feels like an honor to be in the presence of so many service men and women,” said Cunnane. “Especially during something so ‘American’ like baseball.”
“It’s really nice to be able to pay respect to people who have put their lives on the line for us today,” O’Connor added.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day prior to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, is a way to celebrate service members from all branches of service who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
Fleet Week New York, now in its 27th year, is the city’s time-honored celebration of the sea services. It is an unparalleled opportunity for the citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today’s maritime services.