WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than a dozen major league baseball teams, including the Washington Nationals, will hold in-game ceremonies to honor drones and their operators during the upcoming 2016 season, MLB spokesman Courtney Roberts announced Sunday afternoon.
“Historically, we’ve made an effort to honor the men and women of our nation’s armed forces and their continued commitment and sacrifice to this country,” Mr. Roberts said, continuing, “But rarely do we stop and consider these brave drone operators who go beyond declared war zones to stop those who aim to take away the freedoms we hold so dear.”
According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the United States has carried out 491 drone strikes in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen since President Barack Obama took office in 2009. The strikes, which are carried out in sovereign countries, at times without their consent, often result in the deaths of hundreds of civilians including children. “These often unrecognized men and women are the front line soldiers in the war against Islamic extremism,” Mr. Roberts said. “They deserve our thanks as much as, if not more than anyone else.”
To mark the start of the 2016 season, the Washington Nationals will honor six current and former CIA drone operators during the opening ceremony of their first home game scheduled for March 3rd against the New York Mets. “At this game and at every subsequent home game, there will be two or three Predator drones that perform a fly-by over Nationals Park. We’ll ask the fans and players alike to stand and salute them as they pass overhead,” Toby McGinnis, a spokesman for the Washington Nationals, told Fox 5 DC.
In addition, current and former CIA and Air Force drone operators will be given priority access to VIP suites and choice seating during home games and other special events. “It’s important that we pay homage to these courageous men and women who selflessly defend our freedom day in and day out,” Mr. McGinnis said, adding, “As a special show of appreciation towards our beloved fans, we’ll be handing out limited edition die-cast Washington Nationals Predator drones to the first one thousand people who enter the park on Opening Day.”