Armstrong displayed their dedication to honoring local veterans, current service members and their families at Saturday’s Military Appreciation Day, where the Pirate basketball teams squared off against the Lander Bearcats. Numerous camouflage uniforms could be seen among the crowd cheering on the men’s and women’s teams alike.
Over 1,000 free tickets were distributed to service members and their families to take part in the fun. Delicious food and face painting were made also available, free of charge.
But this event was not just about fun, as Evans Davis, head coach of the men’s basketball team, can attest. In addition to an “Oath of Enlistment,” and reenlistment ceremony where 15 future soldiers were welcomed into the United States Army, many branches of the military were honored during the event.
“This game is huge because of what the military means not only for the city of Savannah, but to Armstrong,” Davis said. “We work diligently to strengthen our ties with the military, and this game is just another way of showing our appreciation not only to them but to the community…”
Armstrong is well known for its military relations, having recently been credited number seven on the “Best For Vets” university ranking by the Military Times. This is partially due to the close proximity of the university to local Army bases.
Junior guard George Brown grew up with many of his family members in the military, and said first-hand what events like this mean to the children and families of servicemembers who are often away from home on long deployments.
“It gives back a sense of appreciation that when they’re defending our country, [it is] not overlooked,” Brown said.
It is certainly clear that Armstrong works hard to build a strong relationship with the local military, and the feelings of recognition of and appreciation from the community are well received by servicemembers and veterans.
“It’s great anytime people give appreciation, and at the same time we’re happy to be doing this,” Captain Frink of Hunter Army Airfield, attending with his two young children, said. “And it’s good to show your kids away from home that other people appreciate it. It certainly means a lot.”
Though the games resulted in losses for both the women’s and men’s teams, 77- 69 and 75- 73 respectively, the spirit of appreciation for our local military shined proudly through and will continue to do so well into the future.