One of the traditions at K-State game is our mascot, Willie the Wildcat, doing push-ups following each score - the number of points on the board = the number of push-ups done. It has become a new tradition on Ft. Riley Day for soldiers to pour out of the stands following a touchdown to join Willie in his calisthenics.
|Picture from Ft Riley Day 2010 courtesy of www.army.mil|
Below is a YouTube video of the halftime show. It's long, I know, but start the video then run get a snack, throw in a load of laundry, whatever you got that will take about six-and-a-half minutes, then come back. At about the 3:20 point, the KSU marching band is joined by the First Infantry Division Band, and at the 6:30 mark they begin Stars and Stripes Forever. This is the part I want you to see. As the song ends, notice the group of soldiers carrying the large American flag as they exit to the left of the camera.
What you can't see is that these soldiers exited the stadium, carrying the flag on their shoulders, via one of the stairways through the stands - OUR section of the stands, just a few feet from where we were sitting. Fans along both sides of the aisle, and perhaps through the stadium - I was too engrossed to notice - stood to applaud and cheer the flag and the soldiers. I heard many shouts of "Thank you" and, I'll admit, I got a bit teary. It was a moving, spontaneous moment.
Once the soldiers had passed, we returned to our seats until, a moment later, we heard stirrings behind us, saw parents grabbing kids by the hand (their own kids, I hope) and rushing them off to look at something. We dashed to the top of our section to see what the hub-bub was. The soldiers had stopped directly behind our seats to carry out a precision ceremony for folding the flag. Forgive the grainy picture, but Dave snapped it with his dumb-phone (because - have we mentioned? - we are the last family on earth without smart-phones). It was impressive to watch and, once again, brought a tear to my eye - for both the patriotism and respect of the routine, and the attention and awe of the crowd.
When the flag was folded to a triangle, the ends securely tucked inside, the soldiers marched out of the stadium to another round of applause - at attention the entire time, never a sideways look, never a nod or smile at the crowd. Impressive!
Not much left to say except God Bless the U.S.A. and the soldiers who protect and defend her!