KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs join the NFL and NFLPA in the annual “Salute to Service” campaign throughout November.
The league-wide initiative is designed to honor and recognize veterans and active duty members of the U.S. armed forces.
Kansas City has a series of scheduled events in the coming weeks, according to an NFL news release:
• Nov. 12: Chiefs president Mark Donovan, defensive lineman, cheerleaders and K.C. Wolf visit Whiteman Air Force Base. The visit includes a PLAY 60 session at Whiteman Elementary and a tour of the base’s control tower and airfield.
• Nov. 19: Chiefs Rookie Club visits a local school to promote the American Red Cross’ Holiday Mail for Heroes initiative.
• Nov. 24: The Chiefs host the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium. Pregame festivities will recognize Maj. Gen. Paul Funk, commander of the 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan. Funk will serve as drum honoree. The Joint Forces Honor Guard will present the colors while U.S. Air Force Sgt. Angie Johnson, who competed on NBC’s “The Voice,” sings the national anthem. A 60-yard American flag will be held by 100 representatives of each military branch. A local soldier waving an American flag will escort the Chiefs players on the field during pregame introductions.
Click here to read the news release, which details other events around the league.
A collection of Veterans Day messages to troops from recent interviews:
• John Dorsey, Chiefs general manager:
“I respect ultimately what those guys have sacrificed for my freedoms. I think each and every one of us should understand that because we wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for those gentlemen fighting for the freedoms of the United States.”
• Troy Calhoun, U.S. Air Force Academy head football coach:
“You’re grateful for their dedication and service. We have certain freedoms in this country that are more than cherished. The gratitude that we do have is extended to those who are willing to serve, whether it’s on active duty or whatever capacity that may be. I think it takes one remarkable young person to go down that path, especially in the 21st century, to live for a while without a cell phone or email, to have to cut your hair, to have some conduct behavior standards. And then if we ask you to go overseas to Korea, Iraq, wherever it may be, they’re willing to do that. They voluntarily accept the order and go forth. It’s remarkable. It truly is.”
• Brad Childress, Chiefs spread game analyst/special projects coach:
“They don’t hear enough of this. We’re behind them all the way regardless of what happens politically. I don’t know what different messages they get with us pulling people out, but we back them and we back them 1,000 percent. I think they should know that.”
Note: Childress’ son, Andrew, served in Afghanistan as a Marine and Childress went on a USO tour to the Middle East, which he called “awesome,” in 2010 as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings.
“It’s special having had a son serve a tour of duty in Afghanistan,” Childress said of Veterans Day. “And to be able go over there, actually go to Afghanistan and see what’s that’s all about over there in Bagram (Air Base), it just gives you whole different appreciation for the people that are putting their lives on the line for our freedom.”
• Richard Baldinger, former Chiefs offensive lineman and current KCTV-5 NFL analyst:
“To the men and women who have served in the armed forces of the United States and we’re going back to the beginning of this country. These men and women have sacrificed so much, and they give so much to this country, but yet they ask so little. I think here for Veterans Day, we should all take a moment, one silent moment and just say thank you to the men and women who served the United States in the armed forces. I appreciate their service. Thank you so much.”
Note: Baldinger’s father is an alumnus of the U.S. Naval Academy.