While the Washington Redskins fight on the football field, some of their fans fight for freedom around the world.
The team honored those who defend the United States on Wednesday, hosting about 150 active service members, veterans and their families for the Redskins Salute OTA Day presented by USAA, the Official Salute to Service Partner of the Washington Redskins
"Redskins Salute OTA Day is a wonderful complement to our longstanding military appreciation efforts and a meaningful way for our entire organization to recognize our valued servicemen and servicewomen," President Bruce Allen said. "In partnership with USAA, we look forward to orchestrating a special experience for these outstanding military members and their families, providing behind-the-scenes access to our practice facility, players and personnel."
Servicemembers in attendance participated in a pre-practice chalk talk with former Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss before heading to the fields at Redskins Park for lunch, where there were giveaways and raffle prizes. Military members were also given sideline passes for a behind-the-scenes look at Day 5 of the Redskins' voluntary team activities.
Following practice, players expressed their gratitude for these servicemembers by going over and talking to them and signing autographs. The beating sun and humidity made for a difficult practice, but the presence of the nation’s military made their on-field effort even more important.
"I hope I mean a lot to them, because what we do is nothing compared to what they have to do or go through," said defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, whose father, two brothers and two uncles are servicemembers. "It means a lot, so I make sure I shake each one's hand individually and talk to them for a little bit."
Meanwhile, military members were appreciative of the USAA and the Redskins for making this event possible.
“For me, this is really fun and a once in a lifetime experience since I have never been to a training camp before,” said Air Force Staff Sergeant Amanda L. Harris. “This is pretty fun to see them training and see what goes into the practices outside of a high school practice that I’ve seen. This is pretty nice, and I absolutely love it.”