KANSAS CITY -- An extensive salute to the men and women of the military was presented by the Royals prior to Saturday night's game at Kauffman Stadium.
Included was the unfurling of a huge U.S. flag across the outfield, booming cannonades from the Pittsburg (Kan.) State University howitzer, and a flyover of two B-10s from Whiteman Air Force Base.
Representatives of all five military branches were greeted by Royals manager Ned Yost, hitting coach Kevin Seitzer and players Alex Gordon, Jeff Francoeur and Salvador Perez.
A group of young men and women took the oath of enlistment into the Army on the field. Eight disabled veterans were recognized for their sacrifices for the country. Nine veterans represented veterans across the land and those in the crowd were asked to stand.
The playing of taps was followed by a tribute video in memory of soldiers from Kansas and Missouri and lost their lives while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Medal of Honor winner Donald "Doc" Ballard, a hospital corpsman who saved the lives of several Mariners in Vietnam, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The national anthem was sung by Air Force Tech Sgt. Jennifer Sherman.
Col. Leonard Becicka, 89, sat in the Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat for the game. He served in Patton's 3rd Army Infantry during World War II, the 15th Infantry during the Korean War and in the 12th Corps during Vietnam. He retired from the military in 1970.
"A chance to celebrate our Armed Forces is a great way -- I don't want to say thank you because we should be saying thank you every day -- but it's a nice way to recognize our Armed Forces and a nice way to pay tribute to them," Yost said.