Each football season, the Bears, Boeing and the USO of Illinois honor active military and veterans, giving them a moment on the field at the home games of the Chicago Bears. During the 2013 season, that tradition continued and grew as we honored all those who serve at Home & Away with a tribute video showcased at the Bears' Salute to Service game on November 10 during halftime of the Bears vs. Lions game. The video features local Chicago Bears fans and players saluting the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Fans participated in this momentous tribute in two ways. First fans sent a photo of gratitude to all veterans, military members and families—serving both at Home & Away – to Instagram and Twitter using #SALUTEBEARS. Fans could also text 'SALUTE' to 84848 or go to www.facebook.com/usoofillinois.
For those of us at home, going about our lives, it's easy to lose sight of the sacrifices made by the men and women of our Armed Forces. Civilians and Military families live in different worlds – often times literally. But there is a common bond that can bring us together – remind us to share our gratitude, and reach out to those still far away with a little piece of home. It's the love of Chicago sports. A Chicago fan never loses passion for his home team, like the Bears, no matter how far he roams. So at home games throughout the season, we honored the soldiers who serve us, those home from the field, and those still away. We showed them that we are their biggest fans by using the simple, universal symbol of respect – the salute. We welcomed them home in ways they'll never forget, and most importantly we bonded – civilians and military – home and away.