Veterans, service members honored on Military Appreciation Day

military_appreciation_day
September 5, 2016 01:13 PM

By Ashley Marshall, USTAFoundation.com

Service members and veterans shared center stage with the best tennis players in the world Monday at the fifth annual Military Appreciation Day.

As part of the Labor Day activities planned on Day 8 of the US Open, service members, veterans and their families were treated to a day of tennis and recognized during on-court ceremonies throughout the day and night sessions.

The Honorable Robert A. McDonald, the United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the most senior government official ever to attend and participate in the US Open’s Military Appreciation Day event, took part in three ceremonial coin tosses inside Arthur Ashe stadium.

He was joined by two surviving military children from the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), three veterans from Semper Fi Fund and a veteran from the Northport V.A. Medical Center.

In support of the day’s celebration, Chase, a US Open sponsor, provided tickets to the USTA Foundation, the charitable arm of the USTA, to be distributed to all three groups to attend Military Appreciation Day.

TAPS is the national organization providing care for the families of America's fallen military heroes, while the Semper Fi Fund provides urgently needed resources and lifetime support for wounded, critically ill and injured members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. Northport VA Medical Center is the primary caregiver to Long Island’s veteran community, caring for 31,500 veterans last year alone.

Semper Fi Fund also sponsored a group of wounded service members and veterans for the third consecutive year. The military contingent, hailing from different military branches from around the U.S. and Puerto Rico, were honored during an in-stadium recognition that acknowledged their sacrifice, bravery and courage in the line of duty. In addition, some families of America’s fallen military were in attendance with TAPS.

Veterans from the Northport VA medical center located in Northport, N.Y., attended as a result of a recent partnership with the USTA Foundation. Earlier this year, the Foundation and the USTA’s Facility Assistance Department supported and approved the refurbishment of two tennis courts located on the campus of the Northport VA Medical Center.

Also this year, three wounded veterans, including a captain and two sergeants from the U.S. Air Force, are serving as a ballpersons at the US Open. All three participated in a wounded warrior tryout supported by the USTA Foundation.

To cap off the day, two local military service members from New York City and from Madison Heights, Mich., participated in the coin toss before the first match of the night session.

"We have an unbelievable day slated for Military Appreciation Day at this year’s US Open,” said Dan Faber, executive director, USTA Foundation. “We are truly honored to have Secretary McDonald participate in a full day of on-court ceremonies with our military service members, veterans, their families and guests.

“It is important for us to support and acknowledge service members and veterans, for we would not have these liberties if it were not for their brave sacrifices. We thank them and wish everyone an enjoyable day of exciting tennis action.”

The USTA Foundation helps serve up dreams for under-resourced youth; individuals with disabilities; and wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans and their families. Learn more about the USTA Foundation at USTAFoundation.com.

 

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