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Fightins Paying Tribute to Veterans at Each Home Game05/08/2014 4:43 PM ET
Reading Fightin Phils
This season, the Reading Fightin Phils, Double-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, will be honoring veterans throughout the season with the nightly Savage 61 Ceremonial Flag Service.
Reading Municipal Memorial Stadium (now FirstEnergy Stadium) was completed in 1951 and was named in honor of the service men and women who gave their lives for the country. 48 years later in 1999, a statue in the form of giant dog tags was placed in front of FirstEnergy Stadium in a special rededication ceremony to honor the area's veterans.
To further pay tribute to the sacrifices made by our veterans, the Fightins are flying a Ceremonial Flag to honor a specific veteran each home game. The ceremonial flag flies by those giant dog tags near the stadium's main entrance, thanks to Savage 61.
Before each game, the Fightin Phils will raise a ceremonial flag to pay tribute to their memory and tell their story while welcoming their family to the game. The flag will then be lowered and given to the family following the game.
"FirstEnergy stadium was built to honor the service men and women from our community who gave their lives for our country," said Fightin Phils General Manager Scott Hunsicker. "America's Classic Ballpark is not just a stadium, it's a memorial. To further pay tribute to the sacrifices made by our veterans, at each game, we are flying a Ceremonial Flag to honor a specific veteran thanks to our partners at Savage 61. It is only fitting that those who have protected America are remembered at every game here at America's Classic Ballpark. We hope that everyone attends our games will be fully aware the stadium is a memorial to the veterans of our community."
Starting now, reservations for the Savage61 Ceremonial Flag Service will be taken for the 2014 season. Those interested can call 610-370-BALL ext. 293 to reserve a date. Anyone interested in paying tribute is asked to call that number to select a game date. Available game dates are will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The Savage 61 Ceremonial Flag Service wouldn't be possible without the help of local historians and veterans from the Berks County area.
"This project embodies the historical heritage of the stadium, embraces the Fightin Phils' commitment to that heritage, honors American military heroes and their families, and elevates the organization's respect for the core values of its community and its fan base. It is something that may be unique in all of professional sports," said local historian Charlie Adams III.
"I love the ideas that, after all of these years, the Fightin Phils have come up with a unique way to honor our veterans with their families. Awesome! I am proud to be involved," said former stadium manager and United States Army veteran Francis "Ducky" Turner.
When tasked with presenting this flag ceremony at each home game, Savage 61 stepped up and wanted to support local veterans not just with this ceremony, but through all of the Fightins military programs this season including Military Appreciation Night on July 2nd where all active military and veterans receive a free ticket and an invitation to an on-field ceremony.
Season tickets, mini-plans, group tickets, and single game tickets for the 2014 season at FirstEnergy Stadium are available by visiting Fightins.com, calling the Fightin Phils Ticket Office at 610-370-BALL, or by visiting the Fightin Phils Ticket Office in person at FirstEnergy Stadium. Follow the Fightin Phils on Twitter at @ReadingFightins and like them on Facebook via www.facebook.com/fightins.