USO, New England Revolution Honor Troops at ‘Salute to Service’ Match

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass—On the bicentennial weekend of Francis Scott Key’s “Star-Spangled Banner,” the USO was invited to Gillette Stadium to display it’s own red, white and blue standard: a Guinness World Record-breaking flag.

The USO Every Moment Counts Flag, which shattered the Guinness World Record for most signatures on a flag at 115,405, was displayed during the New England Revolution’s match against the Montreal Impact.

Designed as the ultimate thank you note to troops and military families, the 80-foot-by-120-foot, 350-pound flag boasts signatures from Americans in all 50 states and seven other countries.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” said USO New England volunteer T.R. Collins, who started with the USO when her son went off to college. “The USO puts me in the heart of Active service members and lifting their spirits actually comes back to me tenfold.”

The flag was unfurled at halftime by more than 100 USO New England volunteers amidst a summer downpour while Tennessee Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Angie Johnson and the USO Show Troupe performed for the crowd. Nearly 3,000 police, fire, EMS personnel, active duty service members, reservists and family members from all five branches of the military were in attendance.

After the match, New England Revolution players took the time to meet with troops and families, signing autographs and posing for pictures.

The next stop on the flag’s tour is in Dover, Delaware, at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on Sept. 28.

For more information on the USO’s Every Moment Counts campaign – which rallies Americans to show their support for troops and their families – visit USOmoments.org or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter using #USOmoments.

Unveiling A Record: USO Presents its Guinness World Record-Setting Flag

The USO traveled to The Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati on Thursday to unveil its Guinness World Record-breaking flag. The USO recently shattered the Guinness World Record for most signatures on a flag with 115,405.

Measuring 80 feet by 120 feet and weighing in around 350 pounds, the flag is a prime feature of the USO’s Every Moment Counts campaign and serves as a visible expression of gratitude for all that America’s troops and their families have done for our nation.

People from all 50 states and seven total countries signed the flag. But if you weren’t one of them, there’s still a chance to say thank you by sending a message here.

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13 Years Later: A Nation and its Troops Reflect on 9/11

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Today is Patriot Day, otherwise known as 9/11, the day America was attacked, or — for those in uniform or about to sign up — the day everything seemingly changed.

America’s military has gone through a lot in the 13 years since an al-Qaida plot killed nearly 3,000 U.S. citizens in New York City, at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Troops have gone on millions of individual deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as a result of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Still, as President Barack Obama reminded the country last night, the threat of terrorism — whatever group it’s coming from — continues to weigh heavily in world events. It’s something our brave men and women in uniform continue to fight to eradicate to the greatest extent possible.

And as long as they’re in uniform, the USO will be by their side giving them comfort on the frontlines, assisting their families back home and making sure they have the tools to achieve a bright future, whether they’re overcoming an injury or transitioning.

Congress Helps USO Prep Warrior Care Packs for Wounded Troops

WASHINGTON—On the eve of the 9/11 anniversary, the USO and 75 members of Congress partnered to assemble 1,500 hygiene kits to be included in the USO Warrior Care Packs that will be given to wounded, ill and injured troops around the globe. These essential packs are designed to provide troops with the comforts of home during their recovery process.

“This is a very well-attended event and it’s great that we give an opportunity for our congressional leadership who really support the USO to help the troops overseas,” USO President and CEO Dr. J.D. Crouch II said.

The hygiene kits, which were assembled in the foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building, are filled with necessities  like shampoo, shaving items and toothpaste.

“It’s simple stuff, but it’s the stuff that when they step off the plane they don’t have,” Crouch said.

Click here to see photos from the USO service project on Capitol Hill. 

New Issue of On Patrol Goes Back to Basics

Fall Cover 2014The digital edition of On Patrol’s Fall 2014 issue is available now. Go to usoonpatrol.org to go “Back to Basics” with our nation’s military and its families.

We’ve got Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force boot camps covered, in addition to important stories about physical and fiscal fitness to help keep you and your bank account healthy.

Noel Meador and Rachel Harris from Stronger Families, a USO program partner, explain how their organization’s Oxygen for Your Relationships seminars help military couples strengthen bonds and improve communication. The magazine features more stories on wide-ranging topics like military food, the plight of caregivers after war, moving and adjusting to life as a military spouse.

These stories and more are just a click away.

TV That Backs the Troops: “Sons of Anarchy” Starts its Final Season

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The final season of “Sons of Anarchy” debuts tonight on FX at 10 p.m. EDT. And if you didn’t already have enough reasons to watch, you should know cast members have done multiple USO tours to support the troops, including appearances in the Pacific, downrange and stateside.

“I am so indebted to our outstanding men and women who singularly sacrifice their own time, talents and safety to protect and defend all that is dear to us as Americans,” actor Ron Perlman wrote in an email around the time of his 2012 USO tour stop at Twentynine Palms, California. “To have the opportunity to spend time with these great young people only begins to allow me the opportunity to communicate how special they are and how grateful we all are that they are who they are.”

“Sons of Anarchy” USO tour veterans include Perlman, Theo Rossi, Dayton Callie, Kim Coates and Mark Boone Junior.