Burbank High School Baseball Honors Veterans Before Baseball Game

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(Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

America’s pastime and armed forces were always sources of national pride and purpose, especially during times of nation-wide adversity. From the days of the Civil War to the Great Depression and beyond, baseball has served as an escape from the times but reckoning as well.

The past is the past, but history always finds a way to repeat itself in various shades of fervency. Whatever challenges both the younger and older generations face right now in the fickle American economy were put on the back burner. All thanks to a familiar sports field housing a much-needed event.

Last Thursday on November 9, Burbank High School united baseball with the blessing of honoring veterans. The ceremony began at 5:45 PM at BHS’s baseball field, with the first pitch being thrown at 6:00 PM.

Coach Bob Hart of the Burbank High School baseball team said, “We’re here to honor the guys that make it possible for our freedom. Any opportunity that we get to give back and teach a couple of life lessons to our guys, we think it’s a good thing.”

The players waxed similar sentiments to their coach on this night of remembrance. “I just think it’s cool that we’re doing this for the veterans,” said Junior Varsity BHS baseball member Grady Gibbs. “It’s fun to have all these veterans out. Seeing people who fought for this country, it’s kind of inspirational, actually,” his comrade Ryland Leclair reiterated.

Giving back to such a community goes beyond that of the baseball field. “I do a lot of work with veterans,” said Brigitte Baker Snyder. “But Coach Hart and I both believe it’s extremely important that the boys learn to give back, to give back to people who’ve served. So this year they’ve done an incredible job of giving back to veterans. We’ve done a pancake veteran breakfast. We did Courage Weekend, which was a competitive sports weekend for veterans, disabled veterans, and first responders. And now this is our third event that we’re doing. So we are teaching the boys how to give back and giving them a sense of responsibility to the community.”

The veterans were pleased to be honored, but stressed the importance of foundation. Rich, a Burbank citizen and Vietnam veteran honored that night, stated, “I was invited out to Burbank High to be with the ball game and the ball guys, and honoring our vets tonight. So, some of us from the VFW came out to the ball game tonight. We’re happy to be here, thank you for having us.”

“They’re honoring us at the ballpark, at the Burbank High School baseball game,” George Young, a fellow Vietnam veteran and Chaplain Officer at the VFW mused. “That means a lot to us because these are events that we do in the community, and it’s really good for us to be recognized. Let us not forget that freedom isn’t free. We honor those who fought for our country. Men and women who perished fighting for our country.”

(Photo by Austin Gebhardt)
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