To show appreciation, and to thank veterans for their service and the sacrifices they have made, uniformed members of the military — active and inactive — will be honored on the field before the playing of the national anthem at Northcutt Stadium.
In addition, any veteran, or active military personnel in uniform, will be allowed into the game for free.
“Ever since I became a member of the Marietta community and the city of Marietta, I’ve been impressed with the appreciation they give to veterans, and the Veterans Day assembly at the school has been a big part of that,” Marietta coach Scott Burton said.
“I wanted our players to experience that appreciation on the field as well, and to make sure they understand how life is bigger than just football. The guys on staff felt this would be a good way to broaden (the players’) thoughts about what’s important and give thanks to the many sacrifices our servicemen and women make to our country and to defending its liberties and freedom.
“It was simple for us to honor them. It’s just our way of saying thank you.”
The idea behind military appreciation night began in the spring among the Marietta coaching staff. Implementing the concept was simple, with Burton and his staff just needing to find a date.
“Most games already have something going on, like homecoming or something else, so we had to find a home game on the schedule with no predetermined feature, and the Walton game worked out,” Burton said.
“They were a great fit for what we wanted to do, because they support their military and their football program, too. They’re a great partner in this with us.”
Marietta’s Junior ROTC will also be heavily involved in the event.
“As one of the biggest ROTC units in the state, those guys are really on board as well,” Burton said. “They’re getting the word out about this event, because we want to reach as many servicemen and women as we possibly can.
“We want this to be a big event, because our veterans and active military play a big part in all of our lives, here and abroad, and they need to be appreciated for that.”
According to Burton, a public-address announcement will be made sometime prior to the national anthem directing uniformed military members down to the field, where they will be acknowledged prior to Friday’s game.
“You’d be hard-pressed to find any coach who hasn’t been touched by a member of the military,” Burton said. “There are things that servicemen and women go through, like the camaraderie, the toughness, following orders, being disciplined — a lot of those things go hand-in-hand in what it means to be a member of a football team.
“For our kids, these men and women live and breathe what we try to preach to our guys.”