FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (November 3, 2011) - The Patriots will thank and honor veterans and active duty military members in several activities at their upcoming home game against the Giants on November 6. The honor comes in recognition of Veteran's Day and as part of the Patriots Charitable Foundation's week-long focus on "Veteran and Military Volunteerism" in conjunction with the team's season-long "Celebrate Volunteerism" campaign.
In a pregame ceremony, 20 active members representing each branch of military will join 20 veterans and Patriots cheerleaders to display three large American flags across the field of Gillette Stadium during the national anthem, sung by members of the United States Coast Guard Academy Glee Club. Accompanying the veterans and soldiers will be members of VFW Post 1822 from Plymouth, Mass. to present the colors. The pregame ceremonies will also feature a flyover by the 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes ANGB from Westfield, Mass. There will also be a presentation of a flag by the commanding officer of a base in Iraq to the Patriots Cheerleaders, who visited the base during their 2009 Thanksgiving Tour. Prior to the national anthem, the Patriots will have a moment of silence to honor fallen U.S. Army Specialist Steven Gutowski who was killed in combat in Afghanistan just a few weeks ago. A native of Plymouth, Mass., Gutowski was a former Patriots game day employee.
"We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to all the veterans and active duty soldiers who volunteer their lives to protect us and keep our country safe," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "I have always viewed members of our military as the 'ultimate volunteers.' As the Patriots, we are proud to wear the colors red, white and blue and have always had a unique relationship with the men and women in our armed forces. On Sunday, we will give our fans an opportunity to join us as we show our appreciation to these great men and women and honor all who have served this great country."
Sunday's game launches the beginning of a week-long focus on veteran and military volunteerism, which is part of this year's "Celebrate Volunteerism" campaign. The Patriots Charitable Foundation will work in cooperation with organizations that support community outreach for veterans and members of the armed services. Organizations include Raytheon, a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense and homeland security; Carepacks, a nonprofit committed to sending care packages to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan; and the USO, an organization dedicated to supporting troops and their families.
Each week throughout the season, the Foundation will focus on different volunteer areas. Additional activities will include the launch of the annual coat collection drive at this Sunday's Patriots versus Giants game. Fans are encouraged to bring new or gently used coats to donate outside the gates of Gillette Stadium, near the Patriot Place Plaza, Bank of America and uBid gates. Fans can also drop off coats at the Pro Shop beginning November 7. The Foundation will host a food collection at the November 21 game and toy collections at the December 4 game.
Additional volunteerism activities will include player appearances as part of Patriots Community Tuesdays, and the announcement of the weekly "Patriots Difference Maker" award, which aims to recognize deserving volunteers on www.patriots.com/community and in Patriots Football Weekly.
The Celebrate Volunteerism campaign aims to share examples of dedicated volunteers, build awareness of the need for volunteering, identify and educate others about volunteer opportunities and inspire New Englanders to follow Myra Kraft's example of becoming a life-long volunteer.
Fans are encouraged to personally go out into the community and make a difference by pledging volunteer hours by visiting www.patriots.com/community, where they can also print an official Patriots Celebrate Volunteerism certificate. Fans can also submit photos holding their Celebrate Volunteerism certificate while participating in their volunteer work to CharitableEvents@patriots.com.
For more information about the "Celebrate Volunteerism" initiative, including resources and information about volunteering, the "Patriots Difference Maker" award, and to join the Celebrate Volunteerism movement by pledging volunteer hours, visit www.patriots.com/community.