WASHINGTON — The Washington Nationals celebrated and saluted the Corps with Marine Corps Day at Nationals Park Sept. 24.
The event featured the Marine Corps Base Quantico Band playing the national anthem, the Marine Barracks Washington Color Guard and a heartwarming salute to wounded warriors in attendance.
“The most honorable and noble profession on the planet is to serve your nation, and we’re here to honor our wounded warriors,” said Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Micheal P. Barrett, who threw the ceremonial first pitch at the game against the Milwaukee Brewers. “These are men and women who have given their blood and body parts for this nation, the greatest nation on the planet. Today, we’re here to celebrate with them and watch our Washington Nationals win.”
More than 500 Marines were invited to enjoy the great American pastime; eight were selected to take the field in players’ positions for a pre-game ceremony.
“It was an honor to be on the field,” said Lance Cpl. Amilcar D. Marroquinsalinas, Joint Base Myer - Henderson Hall, Va., consolidated administration separations clerk. “It is one of the coolest things I have ever done since it was my first time at a professional baseball game, and I was being honored on the field.”
Wounded warriors and their families watched the game from the Lexus Presidents Club, located just behind home plate, where they got an insider's view of the Nationals' batting cages and press conference room.
At the end of the third inning, the Nationals welcomed the wounded warriors to the game. Nationals staff gathered the wounded warriors on the concourse of the Lexus Presidents Club and handed out Nationals baseball caps. As the wounded warriors waved their caps in the air, spectators gave a rousing standing ovation for the wounded warriors’ service and sacrifice.
The Nationals are avid supporters of the men and women of the Armed Forces, said Lara Potter, vice president of communications for the Nationals. The Nationals club offers complimentary and discounted tickets throughout the season and frequently hosts wounded warriors from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center during its games.
“We like to honor all the branches of the military as often as possible,” Potter said. “We realize that without the men and women fighting for our freedom, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy baseball. “Any little thing we can do to make them feel like they’re part of our family, we’re happy to do.”