WALLA WALLA — The Walla Walla Sweets will hold a special “Salute to the Military” night Wednesday, complete with Fourth of July fireworks and an Army National Guard band.
The idea for a night honoring veterans was thought up months ago, under the premise that military aircraft would fly over the stadium
“We started putting it together in November. I got the idea that I wanted to have some jets fly over, but what’s the chance of that?” said John Junke, sales and services director for the Sweets.
Junke researched, and then discovered that his dream could become a reality with some money and paperwork. He put together a packet for the Department of Defense, and the stadium qualified for a flyover.
Unfortunately, as Junke put it:
“They took our money, and then the jets got sequestered.”
While Junke’s attempt to get jets to fly over the stadium did not pan out, the resulting July 3rd Salute to the Military game festivities have become a stand-alone event.
Besides the game against the Kitsap BlueJackets there will be many other events.
The first event is at 6 p.m. As fans begin filling the stadium, the 133rd Army National Guard band from Camp Murray will play service and traditional baseball songs.
During the National Anthem the new 80-foot flag pole recently given by the AmVets was to fly its first flag. The Garrison flag, measuring about 50-by-30 feet, was to be introduced by the Walla Walla High School Junior ROTC. But difficulties in properly securing the giant pole have delayed its debut.
There will also be flags from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, and a POW and Washington state flag
Local retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert Collins will throw out the first pitch.
Junke is hoping that in the seventh-inning stretch, American veterans from various wars and conflicts will come out on the field and lead “God Bless America.”
Junke encourages veterans to wear their uniform “if it still fits”
When the game concludes, there will be a fireworks show.
Junke wants veterans, military personnel, and their families to remember this event is to thank them for what they have done and continue to do for our country.
Evelyn Levine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-526-8323.