AIEA, Hawaii -- A long line of men in uniform lunge from one end of a field to another, twisting their torsos with a “dynamic warm-up” in anticipation of physical exertion. Although this could be a scene from any Marine’s physical training session, these warriors were not preparing to take the field of battle, but the field of play at the 2013 NFL Pro Bowl.
Marines and servicemembers from all other branches took part in the pregame and halftime show here at Aloha Stadium, Jan. 27, where they showed support for the players, fans and those watching at home.
After opening honors with the Hawaii state song and music by Train, joint-service troops marched on the field in service uniforms, followed by a joint-service color guard presenting Old Glory for the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Marines also assisted with several logistical tasks, such as stage assembly, that made the event possible.
“We’re out here for everyone who appreciates the military, show them that we’re here for them,” said Cpl. Charles Vallero, a military policeman with Marine Corps Base Hawaii’s Provost Marshal’s Office. “It’s important because … a lot of military members grew up watching football.”
Even though the Marines contributed to improve this all-star session of America’s most popular sport, the players had a different aspect of military service that they were appreciative for.
“(NFL players) have the utmost respect for (our military), what they do for us on a day-to-day basis, sacrificing their lives, leaving their families and [especially] kids to go away and serve our country,” said Washington Redskins linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. “It’s amazing what they do. I’m out here playing football, hitting folks, but I could never take a bullet or shoot people and all that type of stuff. They do an awesome job protecting our country and we love them for what they do.”
Along with their families, Marines and other servicemembers who recently returned from deployment were invited onto the field and gratefully welcomed home during the halftime show. Some Marines then had the opportunity to meet their favorite players who epitomize a certain shared foundation of being a Marine and playing football - teamwork.
“(Football) is all about teamwork, when people work together as a team, you can achieve the ultimate goal, same as a deployment,” Vallero said. “You work together as a team and come back home safe.”