A day late...

Sunday's football game was cold. Why this surprised me, I'm not sure. It is after all November, a month where here in the Pacific Northwest we count on rain, wind and chilly temps. And traditionally, a little flooding...

But I digress...

At the start of each football game at Quest Field, amidst all the drums and hot dogs and coin flips, we raise the flag. Not the US flag... we have already sung to and saluted it down on the field. No... we raise our fan flag... the 12th man flag, embodying the spirit of the fans in the stands.

This opening ceremony business yields the occasional choked up moment for The Old Goat and myself. We're closet woosies. We cry at movies... the sight of a small baby... weddings. A bit ironic that some of our tear-i-est moments have been at the football stadium... a citadel of bravado, testosterone and shoulder pads.

Yet each game day, there we are in the stands... blotting our noses as the honorary pint sized co-captain trots out to the middle of the field next to the hulking uniformed players, hands clasped to meet the adversaries. These little co-captains are typically chosen from those receiving treatment at Children's Hospital. TOG and I are aware that we're going to "well up."

But last Sunday was different. The guest hoister of the 12th man flag is usually a Seattle sports figure, or at least someone recognizable, like Captain Sig from Deadliest Catch. TOG and I did not recognize any of the clues they flashed on the big screen...

Life long resident in the Seattle area...

Retired after 40 years in business...

Served in the armed forces during world war ll...

(the buzz in the stadium grows...)

Stormed the beach at Normandy when he was 22...

(the buzz in the stadium is deafening...)

Then they flash up his name and no one knows who it is...

And no one cares...

Because as the big screen flashes the picture of the very old gentleman wearing his Seahawks jersey over his vintage army uniform, he is exactly the kind of veteran we want to honor... the young men who rose to the occasion, took on something greater than himself and came home to live a very ordinary life. Their actions speak to the hero inside of all of us.

TOG and I are completely welled up as we watch him slowly hoist the 12th man flag. As the flag is tied off, the gentleman turns and waves to the crowd. And he beyond welled up... his shoulders are shaking... not from age but from the fact that he's crying too. With joy at the overwhelming recognition? With sorrow over all the men that didn't survive the beaches of Normandy? With remembrance of those who succeeded?

One thing I am sure of. It had nothing to do with football... and everything to do with remembering and honoring those who serve.