Days after receiving criticism from a national veterans organization for rejecting an advertisement urging players and fans to stand during the national anthem, the National Football League announced Thursday that it would honor veterans during Super Bowl LII.
Fifteen Medal of Honor recipients will be part of the Super Bowl coin toss ceremony on Feb. 4 in Minneapolis, the NFL announced. The game pits the Philadelphia Eagles against the New England Patriots.
World War II veteran Hershel “Woody” Williams, 94, will flip the coin, surrounded by the other Medal of Honor recipients. Williams received the Medal of Honor in 1945 for his actions during the Battle of Iwo Jima.
“The NFL is proud to honor our nation’s heroes at Super Bowl LII,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a written statement. “These courageous individuals deserve to be recognized on America’s biggest stage.”
The announcement was made just days after American Veterans, known as AMVETS, spoke out against the NFL for rejecting a print advertisement the group submitted for the official Super Bowl LII programs. The full-page ad pictured the American flag, soldiers and the words “Please Stand,” referring to the movement of NFL players protesting racial inequity and injustice by kneeling during the performance of the national anthem before the start of games.
Following the outcry, NFL Vice President of Communications Brian McCarthy said official Super Bowl programs should not be used for political messaging and that AMVETS was given an opportunity to amend their ad.
AMVETS sent a letter to Goodell on Monday, calling the decision “corporate censorship.”
The NFL emphasized Thursday its efforts to honor veterans and the military, including its season-long “Salute to Service” military appreciation initiative. The league also partners with military nonprofits TAPS, USO, Pat Tillman Foundation and Wounded Warrior Project.
Other Medal of Honor recipients participating:
Bennie Adkins, Army, Vietnam; Don Ballard, Navy, Vietnam; Sammy Davis, Army, Vietnam; Roger Donlon, Army, Vietnam; Sal Giunta, Army, Afghanistan; Flo Groberg, Army, Afghanistan; Tom Kelley, Navy, Vietnam; Allan Kellogg, Marines, Vietnam; Gary Littrell, Army, Vietnam;Walter Marm, Army, Vietnam; Robert Patterson, Army, Vietnam; Leroy Petry, Army, Afghanistan; Clint Romesha, Army, Afghanistan; James Taylor, Army, Vietnam.
Dashcam footage from a freeway commuter shows the moment a pilot ejected from an F-16 military jet last week, releasing a parachute before the aircraft slammed into a Riverside County, California warehouse.
Several members of the Marine Corps' famous Silent Drill Platoon were kicked out of the service or punished by their command after someone reported witnessing them using a training rifle to strike someone.
Three Marines have been discharged in the last 60 days and two others lost a rank after the Naval Criminal Investigative Service began looking into hazing allegations inside the revered unit that performs at public events around the world.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur.)
Defense officials will brief President Donald Trump's national security team on a plan that involves sending 5,000 more troops to the Middle East to deter Iran, Task & Purpose has learned.
So far, no decisions have been made about whether to send the reinforcements to the region, unnamed U.S. officials told CNN's Barbara Starr.
"The military capabilities being discussed include sending additional ballistic missile defense systems, Tomahawk cruise missiles on submarines, and surface ships with land attack capabilities for striking at a long range," CNN reports. "Specific weapons systems and units have not been identified."
The thousands of sailors, Coasties and Marines who descend on New York City every year for Fleet Week are an awesome sight to behold on their own, but this year's confab of U.S. service members includes a uniquely powerful homecoming as well.