Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of Multi-National Force–Iraq, recently issued an expanded waiver to the policy issued earlier allowing beer to be served for troop stationed in Baghdad last week, according to military officials the expanded waiver allows all units in Iraq to serve two beers per servicemember during the big game.
I'm referring to the Super Bowl of course.
What a change from years past, when only near beer was allowed. But … and there is always a but, not everything is coming up roses for military units in all things Super Bowl related
Since 9/11/01 it has become quite the event to have military color guards present the colors and be present during the singing of the National Anthem at sporting events of all kinds, and at Super Bowl XLIII this will also take place. So to say I was surprised when I received this email from a distraught Marine Mom would be an understatement:
My youngest Marine called me this morning. In the course of the conversation he made mention of being part of the Color Guard for the ceremonies at the Super Bowl. He has been part of other Color Guards at other games and has been able to enjoy the entire game after presenting the Colors. HOWEVER, this will not be the case this time. The 12 man/women color guard will be presenting the Colors and then will be escorted out of the stadium and therefore not allowed to see the game. Steven and the 11 others are quite upset about this and have asked that I see if I could contact someone and have that changed.
What? The Super Bowl won’t let the military color guard stay and watch the big game? Yes you read that right. Was I skeptical? At first, but after I contacted the Tampa Bay host Committee through their official website and spoke to Katie Wagner, I was assured that yes in fact her email inbox is full of emails from upset Marine Mom’s all asking for an explanation. To Ms. Wagner’s credit, who by the way was extremely gracious during my questions the Host Committee has no control over game day decisions; that authority rests solely with the NFL.
What has become a common yet gracious act of allowing a military color guard to stay and watch the game from the side lines, in honor of their service to our country, this time has them being treated as if they are the unwelcome guests, common servants to be whisked away as soon as their task is completed.
Up next: We'll see if I receive a reply to my inquiries for more information from the NFL.