On Saturday, Aug. 4, the Atlanta Falcons hosted a Military Day at training camp for the fourth consecutive year. It's a chance to honor those who serve our country and celebrate the nation. It usually includes hosting visiting military members from nearby Georgia bases, the singing of the National Anthem, camouflage practice jerseys and a flyover.
But the day is about more than pageantry.
From AMBSE CEO Steve Cannon, to head coach Dan Quinn, to the players there is a genuine connection to the men and women of the U.S. Armed Services. And military support is one of the core pillars of Falcons community outreach efforts. Part of that connection includes giving Falcons players and coaches the opportunity to spend time and get to know the families of fallen heroes.
This year, 24 TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) families were given VIP access to Falcons Military Day and spent time with the team. That includes being able to get autographs from Falcons players after practice.
One of those families included the widow and sons of fallen hero Master Sgt. Alan Young. Young's story is, sadly, all too common among military veterans.
Young's two sons, Luke and Reddick, were paired with Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan after practice. Ryan put the young pair through drills and threw the ball with them. That story is encapsulated in the video accompanying this article.
If you are grieving the loss of a military loved one, please visit TAPS.org.