University of Delaware
From left, Cadets Joe Erony, Patrick McCormick, Sam Boonin and Lateefah Vaughn present the colors Sept. 11.

Sept. 11 color guard

UD Army ROTC presents colors at Baltimore Orioles game on Sept. 11


8:30 a.m., Sept. 24, 2013--The University of Delaware Army ROTC Color Guard received a special honor, being asked to present the colors on Sept. 11 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards prior to a game between the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees.

Major League Baseball held events throughout the country in commemoration of the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

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The UD Army ROTC unit requested the opportunity to present the colors that day during the playing of the National Anthem. 

The colors were presented by Cadets Joe Erony, Patrick McCormick, Lateefah Vaughn and Sam Boonin.

“We are extremely thankful to the Baltimore Orioles for allowing us that opportunity and our cadets did a fantastic job,” said Noel Milian, recruiting operations officer. “Sept. 11 will always live as a dark day for our generation but it also lives as a day where Americans stood together in defiance of terrorism. It is important that we honor all of the victims that died on that day and that we also honor all of the first responders and members of the military who answered the call for help.”

Milian said that “presenting the colors before the Yankees-Orioles game on Sept. 11 was a small token of our appreciation in commemorating that day. We shall not forget.”

Erony said the opportunity to present the colors on the anniversary was a special honor, and detailed the experience.

“Twelve years have passed since the 9/11 attacks, and as I grow older I have more opportunities to stand up for the ones who lost their lives on that day,” he said, adding that the cadets selected for the color guard “were honored to be able to participate.”

Erony continued, “We arrived at Camden Yards and were taken to the press conference room where we could relax until it was our time to present the colors. The four of us were a little nervous about performing in front of a full stadium and possibly on national TV. We were shown a picture of the stadium and explained how we would walk in.

“Doing the best we could, we talked out our entrance and exit, since they were both on different parts of the field. Once we had our game plan squared away, we made sure the equipment and our uniforms were perfect. The rest of the time was just spent talking about whatever came up, just trying to keep our minds off of the number of people who would be watching us.

“Before we knew it, it was show time. We were told to start getting ready. Cadet McCormick was the color guard commander, so he held the American flag, while Cadet Boonin held the Maryland flag and Cadet Vaughn and I carried the rifles. We were escorted underneath the stands to the right field gate. It was not until this point that the realization of what I was about to do hit me. I was getting a little nervous, but deep down I knew the performance would go smoothly.

“We were marched out to center field, where we then lined up to present the colors. When it was time we marched into the center field grass and waited for the National Anthem to be sung by the United States Army Old Guard. We were only standing at center field for about 10 minutes, but it felt like longer. Over the intercom a moment of silence was called to remember everyone who lost their lives that day and in the war on terror. It was after the moment of silence that we knew it was our time. The spotlight was going to be on us while the National Anthem was being sung. 

“The minute long Anthem felt a lot longer while holding the rifle in my hands, but after it was over and we started to march off the field, all the nerves were gone, and pride and joy took over -- proud to be one of the people who got to be a part of this kind of ceremony, and joyful that even 12 years later no one has forgotten these events. The nationalism seen by everyone was tremendous and it just makes participating in an event like this more special. 

“We were taken back to the press conference room to put the equipment away and it was at this time that we all checked our phones, only to learn that we were on national TV. We had no idea if the ceremony was going to be broadcast, but when we found out our excitement went through the roof. Being able to present the colors on a stage like this, and on a day like Sept. 11, really made this something I will never forget.”

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