This Sunday, Independence Day, the Nationals will honor their unique role in Washington by partnering with the USO on a special campaign for military families. Through the "Me and a Friend" campaign, the Nationals will invite the children of servicemen and women to the ballpark every Sunday afternoon.
"It's one more part of our responsibility that we take very seriously," said Nationals president Stan Kasten. We represent the national pastime in the nation's capital. Part of that includes baseball's long patriotic relationship with the armed services."
The program is designed to recognize the sacrifices made by the children of military families, especially those whose parents are deployed overseas. Each child will also be allowed to bring a friend along to the game.
It's the first program of its kid, but Kasten believes other teams will follow suit. The Nationals already honor returning soldiers during each home game, offer military discounts and make trips to Walter Reed to visit wounded veterans.
"There is a long connection between us and our government, our nation's leaders and our military. And Major League Baseball has a long tradition of reaching out to the military to thank them in the very, very small ways that we can," Kasten continued.
Sunday's starter Craig Stammen is excited about the program -- and taking the mound in D.C. on the 4th of July. Some of Stammen's best friends have served in the military and the pitcher makes sure to find time to visit with wounded soldiers and veterans when he can.
"I respect everything that they do and the sacrifices they make," he said. "It's always exciting to play on the 4th of July but it will be a little more special playing here in Washington D.C."
"Me and a Friend" USO tickets are available at usometro.org/tickets.