When the Baltimore Ravens play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday (Nov. 4) at M&T Bank Stadium, the teams and fans in attendance will honor veterans and active duty military members through the NFL’s annual Salute to Service campaign.
The Ravens have planned the following pre-game acknowledgements as tribute to the men and women who have sacrificed and to those who are currently serving:
- Country Current, a United States Navy Band, will perform outside the stadium on RavensWalk (10 a.m. – 1 p.m.).
- Prior to kickoff, Ravens players will be introduced and led onto the field by service members carrying American flags, representing each branch of the military.
- Musician First Class Kenny Ray Horton, a member of the U.S. Navy, will sing the national anthem. During the anthem, a 40-yard American flag and five large stars will be displayed and held by 115 active duty service members, representing each branch of the military.
- Challenger, an American bald eagle, will be featured on-field during the national anthem. Challenger will also be available for fan photos on RavensWalk from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
- There will be a flyover from four A-10 Warthogs of the Maryland Air National Guard at the conclusion of the national anthem.
To experience the full pre-game tribute, fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 12:30 p.m.
In addition, throughout the game:
- The Hometown Hero game ball delivery, presented by Dietz and Watson, will honor Technical Sergeant Jerry Sasser (Ret.), a veteran who served in the Air Force for over 17 years until being medically discharged. TSgt Sasser is a recipient of the Purple Heart, which he earned for his efforts during the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996.
- Players and coaches will wear camouflage apparel, including hats, gloves and towels. All player helmets will feature a decal that represents a branch of the military. Ravens cheerleaders will sport American Flag shirts and don red, white and blue poms during their end zone routine, while team mascot, Poe, will wear camouflage attire. M&T Bank Stadium will also contain on-field and in-stadium Salute to Service branding.
- A special halftime performance will feature a 7-on-7 flag football game with former Ravens players and active duty service members. Alumni scheduled to participate include QB Stoney Case, WR Mark Clayton, WR Yamon Figurs, WR Qadry Ismail, FB Vonta Leach, FB Le’Ron McClain, RB Willis McGahee and WR Clarence Moore. Both teams will be outfitted in custom UA Freedom jerseys and gear provided by Under Armour through their UA Freedom initiative.
- Guests of the Seats for Service program will include Marines from Recruiting Station Baltimore, 1st Marine Corps District.
- Game-worn camouflage merchandise, along with special game balls and coins, will be auctioned off at www.nflauction.nfl.com, with proceeds benefiting the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF), the Pat Tillman Foundation, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), the USO and Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). Since 2011, the NFL has raised more than $26 million to support these military nonprofit partners, and in honor of Veterans Day, the league will also donate $1,000 for every point scored throughout the league during each Salute to Service game.
To further support the Salute to Service campaign:
- On Thursday (Nov. 1), the Ravens announced the beginning of a long-term relationship with the USS Maryland (SSBN 738) – a United States Navy Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine stationed in Kings Bay, Ga. The team hosted sailors from the submarine at practice last month during Baltimore’s Fleet Week, the first of several standing invitations the sailors will have to visit with the Ravens throughout the year. Additionally, the team will plan multiple submarine visits, which will include appearances by current Ravens players, alumni, cheerleaders and Poe.
- Players from the Ravens spent time after practice last Friday (Oct. 26) to participate in a Pro vs. G.I. Joe videogaming event, where they played video games against active-duty military members who are stationed overseas in Afghanistan, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
- The Ravens also hosted at the Under Armour Performance Center the second annual Coca Cola Military Combine (Oct. 27), which provided servicemen and women representing all military branches to compete alongside one another in combine-style drills.
- Additionally, the Ravens are working alongside the Baltimore Station, a nonprofit that provides support and education to homeless veterans, to provide a new and improved exercise space in the organization’s recently acquired West Baltimore facility.
Annually, the Ravens salute the armed forces through several initiatives, including hosting military members at training camp and practices, hosting workouts for wounded warriors, welcoming home soldiers and showing support through care packages, letters and daily communication.