A jam-packed halftime

By Andrea Masenda

Halftime of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Friday afternoon was jam-packed with cheer, patriotism, respect and ovations as the crowd honored service men and women in Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas.

New recruits entering the United States Navy and Marines, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard took the field at halftime (each adorned in the t-shirt or uniform of the particular branch) and performed the oath of office into their respective branches of the military. 21-year-old new Coast Guard recruit Madeline Scott of
The Colony, Texas, was glad to have had the opportunity to receive a standing ovation from such a patriotic crowd.

“I was looking forward to being able to honor the United States by representing the Coast Guard. That’s probably the biggest thing that I was excited about,” said Scott.

The standing ovations did not end there. The crowd raved as Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta received the 2011 Great American Patriot Award and gave a speech thanking every member of not only the crowd but also of the United States military.

Wounded Warriors also received praise as they were recognized near the BYU end zone, and one military family was lucky enough to be given a new mortgage-free home through the operation known as Finally Home.

A native of Los Angeles, Calif., 17-year-old Navy recruit Loui Diaz felt that
halftime events focused on how the military unites American citizens with those
who serve.

“You don’t really get to see through the public eye who goes,” Diaz said. “You hear about them, but just the fact that they get to see us (being inducted) involves them more and helps them feel involved with their own country’s military, and I think it’s important for them to be able to see that.”

After paying tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane team took the field and as halftime activities concluded.

 “I hope the audience takes away that being in the military comes with a great sense of pride,” said Robert Auten, enlisted recruit and Technical Sgt. for the U.S. Air Force. “It takes a special young man or woman to stand up and say ‘I’m going to protect my country’ and when you see them stand out there, standing up straight with their chest out and a stern look on their face, you can’t help but feel a patriotism and be proud of such a decision.”

The aviators who participated in the pregame flyover were honored during the third quarter for their service and for helping set the stage for a day or recognition and remembrance for the military.