Fan Noise - "Veteran's Day Salute"

Veteran's Day has different meanings to different people. Some folks view it simply as a free day off. Others view it as a nice day to go shopping with all of the sales going on. It doesn't have the cachet of other "big" holidays, yet to some Americans, it's the most meaningful holiday of all.

Up here in the great Pacific Northwest, we’re blessed (in more ways than one) with the honor of hosting a large group of military members across the state. From Bangor to Fairchild, Washington has the social/economic benefit of thousands of families from all walks of life volunteering to help defend our country both at home and abroad. Without those military families, quite a few civilian communities would wither and die. Veteran’s day is not just remembrance of past and present military sacrifices, but also a celebration of the sacrifices of their families and loved ones as well.

While arguments could be made for any true American sport as being “more” American than the other, I’d have to state that while baseball can call itself a “national pastime”, the NFL embraces better than any other sports league the military members and the military culture itself. And of the 32 NFL teams, I truly believe that the Seattle Seahawks embraces the military culture more than any other.

And it all starts at the top.

Paul Allen’s decision following the horrific 9-11 attacks to provide free gameday tickets to military, police and fire/rescue members for EVERY home game at Husky stadium was a wonderful gesture and much appreciated.

The Seattle Seagals and players have made trips to the Middle East and Europe to support the military.

The Seahawks at home continue to honor local men and women of our armed forces at every game.

The NFL as a whole also supports the troops – broadcasting selected games overseas on the Armed Forces Network (AFN), the military’s version of a media empire covering both radio and television. The NFL is heavily involved with the USO and other services organizations for the military as well as countless charities and relief efforts around the country.

The NFL, more than any other American sport, gives so much back to the community, in appreciation to the support it receives itself.

You’ll notice I’ve left out one major sports league. Wonder why?

We’re blessed as a nation of have so many wonderful volunteers serving our country so that self-serving egotistical cry baby sports figures can be coddled and fawned over, and get their coaches fired while complaining that they get no respect.

Ooops, sorry, went off on a bit of a rant there. I digress.

For every MLB Jamie Moyer, the NFL has ten Grant Wistroms. For every NBA Ray Allen, the NFL has twenty Shaun Alexanders.

And then, of course, standing alone at the top of the list, is Pat Tillman, God rest his soul.

I’m not belittling the contributions other sports leagues and scattered players are making, I’m just sad they’re not doing more, as a whole. It’s much appreciated that someone cares enough to give back their time, effort, and good fortune, it’s just too bad it’s not more prevalent.

While it’s true that the NFL has the advantage of much bigger player rosters, it also has far less salary per player, than any other sport. Just in Seattle alone, you compare the annual player salary budgets for the Mariners, Seahawks, and the Sonics, side by side, and you can see the disparity. Yet, the NFL players outshine both other leagues in community support. It’s no contest. And the biggest outpouring of support falls to the military members and families around the world.

So, as a Military retiree, I’d like to give thanks to the Seahawks, Paul Allen, and the NFL, for their continued, appreciated support of our armed forces. It is organizations and people like you that make this country strong. Thanks again, from the bottom of my heart. And I think I can speak for my other military brethren in passing along their thanks as well.

And to our fellow countrymen and women serving our great nation both at home and abroad, past and present, thank you, God bless, and good luck.

Glenn Geiss writes the Fan Noise column for Seahawks.NET every week. Feel free to send him feedback at Top Stories