The Buffalo Bills received this letter recently from American soldier Aaron L. Raymar, 1LT Field Artillery, Basrah, Iraq, and on Veterans Day we thought that Bills fans would appreciate his special message. Earlier in the season, the Bills sent flag football equipment and Bills items to Iraq in order to help our military start their own Flag Football League. The letter below says it all:
*I cannot even begin to thank you enough for all the support you are giving to me and the soldiers with whom I serve. We spend hours upon hours at our duties, trying to revive this country and make it a better place not only now but for the future. Americans will always rally and unite around sports and competition. Now, with your help and in a few weeks of dedicated effort, you have allowed us to create something that will bring people together, and make life better for all the soldiers stationed on this base.
Creating this flag football league means more to me than just allowing people to come together to play sports and enjoy themselves for part of the day. It means that people will have something to look forward to everyday for the rest of this deployment; it means for that brief period of time they can take their minds off what happens in downtown Basrah; it means they can let go and be themselves rather than being tense and wound up like a spring ready to pop; it means that their moral well being and their emotional state has a form of release that is something they relate to back home; it means that no matter how far off the beaten trail someone is, they have other people around them that will help them get through anything and bring them home safely.
In our world, your gesture of care and concern means a great deal. If there is only one lesson that I will take away from this deployment and this country, it is to value what I have and recognize how lucky I am for who I am and where I came from. With your help, we have built something here that will exist for a long time to come, or at least until this base closes; then the USO will take with them what we have created and assembled. The USO has assured me that COB Basrah Flag Football League will be transported to the next base in order to support other soldiers in their deployment.
I appreciate everything that you have done for me and this league, and I am very thankful that you were willing to support my venture here in Iraq. I wish you all the best and am grateful to know that there are people out there like you all who support what we do. If you don't mind, please pass this along to anyone else that was helpful in making all of this happen. GO BILLS!
Aaron L. Raymar
1LT Field Artillery
1-68 AR BN, 3BCT, 4ID
COB Basrah, Iraq
APO AE 09374*
In honor of Veterans Day, the Bills will have close to 100 members of the military and their families on the field for a special pre-game ceremony this Sunday where they will be saluted for their service to the United States of America.
In conjunction with the USO and military organization's "Year of the Military Family," the Bills will include local families as part of their Veteran's Day recognition ceremony. All branches of the current military including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, as well as Military Veterans will be on-field as part of the ceremony.
Millions of Americans' lives were forever altered because they donned a uniform to protect the freedoms and rights we sometimes take for granted. We owe an eternal debt of gratitude to them. Acknowledging Veterans and our current military members is an honor for the Buffalo Bills. It's our way of recognizing the 23.8 million former defenders and honoring those still serving today.
We are extremely appreciative of what the military does to allow us to enjoy our freedoms, and we can't thank them enough for their sacrifice and service.