MICHELE: In Appreciation of Our Veterans

Before each and every New York Jets home game over 82,000 fans, players, coaches, stadium employees and service men and women stand as one to sing our country's National Anthem, the Star Spangled banner. Everyone cheers with pride as the song reaches its crescendo with its final words, "the land of the free and the home of the brave." These words have very deep meaning. Our country maintains its freedom because of the valor of the service members of the United States Armed Forces.

Every year on the 11th day of November we celebrate Veterans Day. We honor the men and women of our armed services that have sacrificed their lives to preserve the liberty of our nation and allow it to maintain its title as the land of the free and home of the brave. In Washington, a patriotic ceremony takes place every year in Arlington National Cemetery, including a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. We pray for our fallen soldiers and their families and express our gratitude to those troops who continue to risk their lives and serve our country.

I have had the privilege of touring the USS Intrepid and it was an experience I'll never forget. The young soldiers I met were so passionate about their areas of expertise and were eager to share knowledge of their special skills and even some personal stories. I know I will never fully understand the magnitude of their sacrifices, but listening to their stories gave me a new-found respect for what they do.

I am also proud to say that my Pop-pop, rest his soul, was a World War II Navy veteran and I was lucky enough to hear stories of his encounters overseas. My father and uncle were also in the United States Marine Corps when they were young and that experience and training helped shape them into the amazing men they are today.

As we pay special tribute to the brave men and women who protect our country, the New York Jets will be holding their 11th annual Military Appreciation Day this Sunday at our home game against the Houston Texans. Special events that day will include the Golden Knights parachuting into the stadium, the National Anthem performed by vocalists from the U.S. Coast Guard Glee Club, and the West Point Academy Marching Band performing at halftime. Each branch of the military will have exhibits and recruiting stations along the perimeter of the stadium.

I can't wait to be a part of Military Appreciation Day on Sunday and I especially can't wait to meet these wonderful, heroic veterans while having the privilege of performing on the sidelines for them! If you're going to the game I hope you will take the time to thank as many veterans as you can and help us to remind them of how truly appreciated they really are! Thank you, veterans!

—Michele

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