Editor's note: Amidst the recent headlines about the NFL and the military advertising, I received this email from a reader who is a Chiefs fan and a member of the military and I thought this perspective was worth sharing. Thanks to Phil in Wichita for sending this in.
Hey man. I don't post on Arrowhead Pride or anything like that, but I very much love the articles that you and your associates write, keeping me up to date on the Chiefs. I just wanted to tell you about an experience of mine that folks may or may not realize behind the headlines.
As you know, January 11, 1970, at Tulane Stadium, the Chiefs beat the Vikings 23-7 in Superbowl IV. Four months later, I popped out of my mom with a Len Dawson jersey on, tipped the nurse a half-dollar, and said, "Which way's Arrowhead?!" Perhaps if there is a curse, I'm it.
After time in the Middle East and in Europe in the Army, I returned home after a back injury. After substantial rehab, I reenlisted in the Navy as a Seabee. I guess I just couldn't get enough punishment.
With the bias of being a lifelong fan of the Kansas City Chiefs and for a few years when I could swing it, a season ticket holder, I am proud to tell you about the following.
Regarding a couple of past games at Arrowhead Stadium several years before last year's Monday Night Football blowout of last year's Superbowl Champion Patriots:
The first one was in 2007 right around Thanksgiving I believe. The Chiefs beat the Patriots back then as well. The second was in 2011 or 2012 against the Raiders I believe. I think the Chiefs lost.
A select few service members including myself from Navy Operational Support Center Wichita, KS had the honor of performing the Color Guard for the National Anthem for both games. Neither time did the Chiefs require the Navy to pay any money for the privilege of honoring the flag and fellow veterans. I'm quite sure of this, because there was no money "in the budget" at the time to even send folks to training, let alone a trip to Kansas City.
The person who was in charge of public relations for the Kansas City Chiefs provided each member of the Color Guard and our photographer with game tickets. Before the 2007 game, Tom Brady and Doug Flutie talked to us for a bit. Before the 2012 game, Dwayne Bowe and Mitch Holthus talked to us for a bit. After watching a few plays from the sideline at each game, a Kansas City Chiefs representative escorted us to our seats in a box on the club level.
Joel, I don't stand up when it is announced that, "everyone who's ever served in the military should stand up." I've never eaten a "Veterans' Day" free meal at Applebees or anywhere else. I'm not bashing on anyone who does or anything. And I'm very proud of my service. It's just not me. I didn't serve for recognition. I'm not unique in having this sentiment. Many share it.
To me, the two times we were invited to have the privilege to stand at the 50 yard line of the field at Arrowhead Stadium and honor all of the aforementioned, and the way the entire Kansas City Chiefs organization made us feel so welcome and appreciated, it felt like we were treated like royalty.
Again, outside of getting myself up to KC from Wichita, KS and whatever food and beverages I shoved in my gullet AFTER each Color Guard was complete, to the very best of my knowledge, we didn't pay a dime in order to have the honor of representing the Navy on these two occasions.
There's good and bad things happening both in the military and in the NFL.
In a society where everyone is quick to jump to judgement after a controversial headline, I just wanted to share with you the exemplary treatment that we received from the entire Kansas City Chiefs organization which renewed the immense pride I've always had in being a lifelong fan.