BRIDGEWATER, NJ – The Somerset Patriots, along with the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 452, will honor veterans and current military members before the Patriots game on Sunday, Aug. 25, with gates opening at 4 p.m at TD Bank Ballpark.
Fans are encouraged to arrive early for the special ceremony expected to begin at 4:15 p.m..
This year’s event will honor the Guards of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with Sgt. Kevin Donovan as the keynote speaker. Donovan, a graduate of Immaculata High School, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd US Infantry, The Old Guard in the United States Army Infantry. He volunteered for duty at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in 1981 and completed his time in 1984. He earned the second rarest Military Badge, earning Badge #253, second only to the Astronaut Badge. He will be joined at the event by fellow Tomb Guards.
United States Armed Forces veterans, active Marines and soldiers will be honored at the ballpark. All veterans in attendance will be recognized for their courage and service to the United States.
The ceremony will feature a special Honor Guard from Vietnam Veterans of America- Chapter 233 Metuchen and The Rifle Squad from the Marine Corps League Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone Detachment #190- Milltown, and Echo Taps. There will also be a reenactment of the flag raising on Iwo Jima by Marines from the Combat Logistics Battalion 25 of Red Bank.
There will be a military fly-over with World War II planes by pilots from The Jersey Jerks led by Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Russo joined by Dr. Buzz Cortez, Ed Nagle, Gavin Nagle, and John Mazur. Military vehicles will be stationed around the ballpark for fans to view before the game.
Veterans from groups such as the Marine Corps League, Vietnam Veterans of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Disabled America Veterans, Coast Guard League, Navy League, National Guard, Seabee Organization, Navy Seals, and the Green Berets will be honored before the game.
All veterans will receive complimentary admission to the game, while all family, friends, and other guests of veterans will receive $5 upper box tickets.
For the second year, the event will include participation by the Armed Forces Heritage Museum (AFHM) and their traveling, education and multi-media trailer that will feature some of the current ongoing projects as part of the mission of the AFHM.
Following the game, there will be a paratrooper helicopter drop fundraiser to benefit the Basilone Memorial Foundation.
For more information on how to participate in the Somerset Patriots Veterans of America Day, or to purchase tickets for the event, please call the Somerset Patriots Ticket Office at (908) 252-0700 or visit www.somersetpatriots.com.