There’s nothing more American than heading to the ballpark, grabbing a hot dog and watching this nation’s pastime sport — baseball. That’s why it was the perfect way for a Florida community to honor vets at a local nursing home in celebration of Veteran’s Day last week.
The 10th annual Miracle League Veterans Game was held last Thursday at Frank Brown Park in Panama City Beach, FL, to honor the holiday and those who served in America’s wars.
The event brings out residents at the Clifford Chester Sims State Veterans’ Nursing Home, a 120-bed skilled nursing facility in Panama City, to the ballpark for a friendly game. Residents are bussed to the park and met with cheers from the local community.
“They come out here to play,” event coordinator Dave Johnson told local media. “They talk a lot of smack back at the Sims about how they’re really going to hit one out of the park. This is their dream. We make them feel young again, and think about it: When they were 18 or 19, they weren’t playing ball, they were going to war and stuff.”
The residents are then split into red and blue teams and the game begins. Each vet receives a medal. This year, the group was also treated to a helicopter flyover. The last two years’ games have been canceled due to the pandemic (2020) and a hurricane (2019).
“It’s great. Just look around here, it’s a lot of fun,” said Robert Franklin Ivy, a first-time player and Air Force veteran. “[I’m] proud to be American.”
We’re proud you are, too, Robert. Thank you for your service, and may you hit the home run of your dreams each time up.
Visit here for images from past events.