Washington Post: Military tributes at baseball games: True honors or hollow gestures?

Like most people, John Dever awoke Sept. 11, 2001, saw horrific images on the news and tried to make sense of what would come next. Dever worked in the San Diego Padres’ media relations department, and he was summoned to a meeting to decide how the team would stage a potential game that night. The schedule had not been canceled; they still did not understand the scope of what had happened.

At the meeting, Dever spoke up with an idea. The traditional “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” would sound out of place during the seventh-inning stretch. He suggested the Padres should instead play, “God Bless America.” The idea reached the Padres’ Larry Lucchino, who had flown into Milwaukee for an owners meeting. He relayed the idea directly to Commissioner Bud Selig. A tradition was born.

“It kind of became a thing,” said Dever, who worked for the Nationals their first 10 years in Washington. “It really ramped itself up.”

WNU Editor: I have never grown tired of these military tributes .... both here or when I was living in Russia. My father .... who was a World War II vet .... was also never tired of them .... to him they were always special occasions. As to military tributes at baseball games .... in my opinion they are not hollow gestures .... they are what they are .... a moment to say thanks (or to remember) the many men and women who have served or are serving in the U.S. military.

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