The Minnesota Twins and the Minnesota National Guard announced plans for the 17th annual Armed Forces Appreciation Day, presented by Thomson Reuters, will honor veterans and active service members from all five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. This year’s event, which will be held in conjunction with the Twins’ Sunday, September 6 game vs. the Detroit Tigers at Target Field, will once again celebrate military members past, present and future.
With fans not at the ballpark, the Twins, in partnership with FOX Sports North and the Treasure Island Baseball Network, will deliver this salute to Minnesota’s military directly to fans across Twins Territory. The FOX Sports North pregame show begins at 12:30 p.m., with first pitch scheduled for 1:10 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
All pre- and in-game elements were pre-recorded using proper safety protocols. These ceremonies will focus on four main themes and will include the following:
Honoring the Past – Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II
Seventy-five years ago this week, on September 2, 1945, World War II officially came to an end. To honor the heroism and valor of “The Greatest Generation,” the Twins will recognize WWII veterans throughout the game:
The initial ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Private First Class Mickey Nelson, who celebrated his 100th birthday this year by completing a 100-mile walk this summer that, to date, has raised more than $100,000 for the Salvation Army; money that will be spent, per Mickey’s request, to feed people in need. The Clarks Grove, Minnesota native and U.S. Army veteran served in an armored division as a tank mechanic during World War II. Mickey taped his first pitch from Hayek Field in Albert Lea.
The American flag will be raised by Seaman Second Class Richard Sheibe, who entered the U.S. Navy at 17 years of age and served on the USS Pasadena in the South Pacific from 1946 to 1948, before serving as an active reservist as a firefighter and engineer from 1948 to 1953. Seaman Schiebe is joined by World War II and other veterans outside the Minneapolis Veterans Home.
The Twins will honor nine Minnesotans that heroically served during World War II with individual vignettes – one per inning. These tributes will run on the Target Field scoreboard, on the Treasure Island Baseball Network, and on Twins and FOX Sports North digital outlets.
Saluting the Present – Recognizing troops at home and abroad
In deep appreciation for the continued sacrifice of today’s military and their families, the Twins will celebrate service members throughout Twins Territory, including the many who are currently deployed around the world:
A secondary ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Lieutenant Commander Mirna Rowe, a reservist in the U.S. Navy with 28 years of service, including a 15-month mobilization to Afghanistan in 2008, and a senior director with Thomson Reuters.
The National Anthem will be performed by the 34th Infantry Division “Red Bull” Band. Officially organized on April 30, 1900, the 34th Infantry Division Band has proudly served our state and nation for over 120 years and has seen service in World War I, World War II and the Global War on Terrorism.
A series of 20-plus “shout-outs” from deployed Minnesota National Guard members, to be played in-ballpark, on the FOX Sports North telecast and throughout the Treasure Island Baseball Network, will help to celebrate troops currently serving in the Middle East (34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade), in Africa (2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry) and on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (34th Military Police Company).
Remembering the Fallen – Honoring those who died in service
The Twins are forever grateful to those brave women and men who have made the ultimate sacrifice and lost their life in service of our communities, our state or our country. The organization will pay tribute to those who have recently passed:
As per Armed Forces Appreciation Day tradition, the Twins will share an in memoriam video and hold a moment of silence to remember those in the Minnesota military whom we have lost during the past year. This year’s remembrance will also honor the memory of Officer Cody Holte, a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, a 1st Lieutenant in the North Dakota National Guard, a lifelong Twins fan and a member of the Grand Forks Police Department, who was shot and killed while responding to a call on May 29.
A pregame flyover will feature helicopters from the St.Cloud and St.Paul-based 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade in an homage to the three Minnesota National Guard members who lost their lives during a December 5, 2019 training accident near St. Cloud (also to be honored during the in memoriam video): Chief Warrant Officer 2 James Rogers, Jr., Chief Warrant Officer 2 Charles Nord and Warrant Officer Candidate Kort Platnenberg.
Serving Those in Need – 2020 Major League Baseball Military Grants
During the 2020 season, Major League Baseball is providing each club with a military grant for local support of programs that benefit service members, veterans and military families; the Twins are splitting these funds evenly between two local organizations:
The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV), a St. Paul-based nonprofit aiming to ensure that every veteran in Minnesota has access to services and support to avoid homelessness and achieve sustainable housing, will be recognized through a video highlighting their commitment to this important issue.
The United Heroes League (UHL), a Hastings-based nonprofit which keeps military kids healthy and active through sports by providing gear, camps, grants and special experiences, will be recognized through Sunday’s Play Ball Kid: 10-year-old Eli Federly of Medford, Minnesota, whose father, Joshua Federly, recently returned from a year-long deployment and has served for 18 years combined with the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army.
God Bless America will be performed during the 7th inning stretch by the Thomson Reuters MSP Chorale.