South Bend Cubs honor veterans during Military Appreciation Day

NOW: South Bend Cubs honor veterans during Military Appreciation Day

SOUTH BEND, Ind.--The South Bend Cubs continue to honor those in uniform with Military Appreciation Days.

Not only is the event an opportunity for fans to see a piece of history in the Huey Helicopter, but it also gives Michiana veterans, like Master Chief Juan Cruz, a chance to go back and honor those who they have served with.

The flag. This holiday. This helicopter. They all mean so much to Cruz, who served in the Navy from 1979 to 2013.

For the first time since the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, he will ride in a Huey 803.

The helicopter on display at Four Winds Field was used in Vietnam to transport troops. It was also used by medics to pick up the wounded.

“For us to actually bring in the Huey Helicopter and let folks enjoy this experience. Those are the things we do and we are just very appreciative to our military,” said South Bend Cubs President Joe Hart.

The helicopter flies 400 feet above ground with picturesque views of Four Winds Field and the City of South Bend and cruises at over 100 miles per hour.

“It’s just a time to remember. Not only the ones that we have served but those who have served before us. Remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Without them we are nothing,” said Cruz said after riding in the helicopter and throwing out the first pitch of the game.

Hart says this is what the Cubs strive for; to honor Michiana veterans like Cruz and to give thanks to our men and women who proudly protect our freedoms.

“It’s days like this where we get to honor Juan, but hopefully for him it helped him enjoy and remember why we do what we do. This is memorial day,” said Hart.

Military Appreciation Days continue on Memorial Day with all active military and veterans receiving two free tickets to the game.

Gates open at noon Monday with a military wreath laying ceremony at 1 p.m.

The first pitch is set for 2:05 p.m. as the Cubs take on the West Michigan White Caps at Four Winds Field.

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