Theodore's World: Spring Training and the Wounded Marines

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March 30, 2009

Spring Training and the Wounded Marines

From the bottom of my heart, I cannot thank you enough for providing the Marines an opportunity to come to spring training games again. Everything was perfect. The games, the dinner, the camaraderie, the fans, everything. However, I need to tell you about what happened during the White Sox/Dodgers game that will remain with me for a very long time.

On Sunday, during the 5th inning at Glendale Stadium, the address announcer introduced the Marines. Then they started playing the Marine Corps Hymn and all of the injured Marines stood up to attention. We had seats in the section directly behind home plate, so the Marines were very visible. Then the crowd all stood up and gave the Marines a standing ovation. (Kind of like what happens during Sunday home game at PETCO park with the Marines in the upper deck).
For these Marines, it was emotional for them to be publicly recognized.
Then, when we all left the game in the 7th inning to get back to the airport, the injured Marines had to walk up, directly behind home plate, about 75 stairs to leave. Of course, it took awhile because several had canes and even more could not walk fast because the guys with the canes were at the head of the line.
As they filed up the stairs out of the stadium, in a single file line, spontaneously the crowd again all stood up and gave the Marines a standing ovation until the very last one reached the top of the stairs. Had to take 3-4 minutes. It was loud. It was crazy. The players on the field were even clapping. It was truly a proud moment for me. When the Marines got to the top of the stairs, several were crying. It was very, very emotional. Emotional for them, for me, for the crowd.
On the plane, I started asking myself, why was this trip so fantastic? Here's what I came up with: When the Marines got injured, they were immediately brought back to the hospital for care and treatment. While still in the hospital, those that had warranted the Purple Heart medal were given a very nice, but private ceremony with their immediate family present. Most often a General will come in and congratulate them for a job well done. Then they go through months of therapy.
Never have they been thanked by the public. To be taken out of the hospital, out of rehab and told thanks by the very same people they are fighting for, it is truly overwhelming for them. To watch them hobble up those stairs, with 12,000 to 15,000 people cheering for them and then them having tears streaming down their cheeks, it made me very proud. I want you to know, that you made it possible for them to receive the recognition that they deserve. You should be very proud for what you are doing for our military and especially, my fellow Marines.


* Blackfive

The above email is from Rich W. and Jim P. who helped get 17 wounded Marines out to Phoenix for Spring Training. Rich and Jim are former Marines and are, not surprisingly, always faithful. The USAF gave them vans to transport the wounded Marines.

So who was the email of thanks directed to?

It was sent to the man who personally paid for airfare and hotels for the 17 wounded Marines. His name is Barry Zito of the San Francisco Giants.

And Barry Zito has done a lot for our troops in the past. He created the charity Strikeouts for Troops, to which he donates $400 for every strikeout he throws. The charity benefits hospitals for soldiers wounded in military operations.

Barry Zito email address if you would like to email him.

Wild Thing's comment..........

This is so wonderful, it brought tears reading it. I love stories like this, our troops deserve things like this to happen as often as possible.

......Thank you RAC for sending this to me.

RAC has a website that is awesome. 336th Assault Helicopter Company

13th Combat Aviation Battalion - 1st Aviation Brigade - Soc Trang, Republic of Vietnam

Posted by Wild Thing at March 30, 2009 07:48 AM


Finally getting the respect they deserve. Not just the Marines but all the Services. At times I am partial and biased but all of us went through hell when we came back home in the 60's. The dirtbags are still out there but are much more subdued thanks to the American People making the effort to remember and appreciate what these guys do for each and everyone of us.

Posted by: Mark at March 30, 2009 12:16 PM

What a nice gesture by Barry Zito. So many professional athletes are too full of themselves and don't think of anyone else.

Zito's Strikeouts for Troops is a neat program.

Posted by: TomR at March 30, 2009 12:31 PM

Thank you Mark and Tom.

When I showed this to Nicholas he said the same thing.

Posted by: Wild Thing at March 30, 2009 07:40 PM