It’s hard not to notice that the 2010 FIFA World Cup is days away – it begins on June 11, to be exact. English-language television right’s holder, ABC / ESPN, has been heavily promoting the tournament and reminding viewers that it will broadcast all the games.
You may have seen one of the commercials, called “United”, which features U2 front man Bono reading off a list of what the World Cup is NOT about, and what it IS about:
“It’s not about politics, or religion, or the economy. It’s not about borders, history, trade, …human rights, animal rights….global warming, global pandemics...It’s about the one month, every four years, when we all have dreams of one thing: 32 nations, one world watching - the FIFA World Cup.”
Which brings us to today, May 31, Memorial Day.
Unlike the World Cup, this National holiday happens every year in the United States.
Similar to the ESPN commercial, the day is not about any issues. Rather, it’s a day to collectively stop our weekly routine for one day and remember those who serve and those that have paid the ultimate price in service to the nation.
On Saturday, the Colorado Rapids honored two Army sergeants at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. And, the sold out crowd made their moments special by showing tremendous signs of appreciation.
Prior to the game, Sergeant Micah Mayo was introduced as the Honorary Team Captain. Greeted by Rapids captain Pablo Matroeni, Sgt. Mayo’s acknowledged the crowd’s ovation as his bio was read.
He has deployed twice to Iraq with the 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, and most recently returned in September 2009.
While overseas, he served as a radio and communications security repairer. During his second deployment, he stepped into a leadership role and served as the Noncommissioned Officer-in-Charge for his repair shop.
Originally from Guin, Ala., he has served in the Army for seven years.
Then, at halftime, the club recognized Sergeant Marvin Gaines as a “Hometown Hero.” As Sgt. Gaines stepped out to midfield, the crowd rose from all sides, giving the New Orleans, La. native a rousing standing ovation.
In his 10 years in the Army, Sgt. Marvin Gaines has deployed four times to Iraq and Afghanistan, and also returned in September 2009.
During his most recent deployment to Iraq with the 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, he served as a Special Electronic Devices repairer.
Also, as the Noncommissioned Officer-in-Charge, he was responsible for overseeing that all electronic equipment for battalion was accounted for and repaired in a timely manner.
Both Sgt. Mayo and Sgt. Gaines continue to serve with the 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division and both are currently assigned to Fort Carson.
Only Sgt. Gaines knows what was going through his mind as he waived to the crowd with a tear running down his face.
Was it the appreciation of his service to the country from the crowd? Was he himself remembering lost colleagues? Or, possibly just remembering why he’s in the Army?
The World Cup is a month-long event that ‘unites’ people like no other event. And fans across the globe stop much of what they do to give the tournament its due attention.
The fans that stood and applauded as Sgt. Mayo and Sgt. Gaines were being recognized on Saturday should know that the simple gesture was appreciated by these gentleman.
Compared to the World Cup, Memorial Day is short.
Thanks for taking a few minutes to learn about Sgt. Mayo and Sgt. Gaines. See, that wasn’t too long to stop for a few moments to remember the meaning of the day.