MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Twins today announced plans for this upcoming Saturday and Sunday at Target Field, a special weekend as the club pays tribute to lives tragically lost, while honoring the men and women of Twins Territory who have, and continue to, bravely serve our communities and country.
On Saturday, the Twins and the visiting Kansas City Royals will join Major League Baseball in remembrance of September 11, 2001 before and during the 6:10 p.m. game; on Sunday, September 12, the Twins, in partnership with the Minnesota National Guard, will honor veterans and active service members from all five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces during the 18th annual Armed Forces Appreciation Day presented by Thomson Reuters (first pitch is set for 1:10 p.m.).
Tickets for September 11 and 12, along with all remaining Twins home games, are available at twinsbaseball.com, by using the MLB Ballpark app, by calling 612-33-TWINS or 800-33-TWINS, or in-person at the Target Field Ticket Office. Active military members or veterans with a valid ID, plus up to three guests, can receive half-price Diamond Box High or Home Plate View tickets on September 11 and 12, courtesy of Bally Sports North (available day of game only).
9/11 Remembrance – Saturday vs. Kansas City Royals (6:10 p.m. first pitch)
On the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001, the Twins and Royals will join Major League Baseball and all 30 Clubs to remember and honor those we lost on that tragic day, the heroism of all who sacrificed their own lives to save others, those who died from illnesses obtained at Ground Zero, and those who continue to bravely serve our communities and country.
Starting at approximately 5:50 p.m., special pre- and in-game elements are scheduled to include:
- The placing of six wreaths, each representing a different group and commemorating lives lost, behind the pitcher’s mound, where they will remain throughout pregame ceremonies; they will then be moved to the flag poles near Gate 34 for the game. A wreath honoring Law Enforcement will be placed by Deputy Commander Mark Koderick of the Minnesota Department of Corrections and Matt Klaes of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, representing the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association Honor Guard; one remembering Firefighters will be placed by a representative of the Minneapolis Fire Department; one paying tribute to Emergency Medical Services will be placed by Brent Anderson of Hennepin EMS; one recognizing the United States Armed Forces will be placed by Major General Johanna Clyborne of the Minnesota National Guard; one commemorating American Citizens will be laid by Melanie Tschida, interim Regional Executive of the American Red Cross of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota; and one honoring International Citizens will be laid by Air Force Brigadier General (Retired) Tim Cossalter.
- A special in-ballpark element will be in place throughout the game in remembrance of the 13 U.S. servicemembers killed on August 27 in an attack near the Kabul airport in Afghanistan.
- Video excerpts from “Resolute: MN Stories of 9/11 & the War,” a production of the Minnesota Military and Veterans Museum, will be shown on the main Target Field videoboard.
- Ceremonial first pitches will be thrown by Erik Aamoth, brother of the late Gordy Aamoth, Jr., a victim of the terror attacks on the World Trade Center, and Devin O’Brien, nephew of the late Tom Burnett, Jr., one of the brave heroes of United Airlines Flight 93. Gordy Aamoth, a former captain of both the football and hockey teams at The Blake School, was a 32-year-old successful investment banker who on the morning of 9/11 was set to announce a successful merger deal from his firm’s office in the South Tower. Burnett, a 38-year-old Bloomington native who led Thomas Jefferson High School to the state football finals in 1980 as starting quarterback, was traveling home to his wife and three daughters in San Ramon, California after a business trip as Chief Operating Officer for Thoratec; he and three other passengers led others in storming the cockpit of Flight 93, thwarting the hijackers’ plan to use the plane as a weapon of destruction.
- The Twins Territory flag will be raised by representatives of first responders.
- The American flag will be raised by First Sergeant (Retired) Aaron Myers of the Minnesota National Guard.
- The National Anthem will be performed by trumpeter Mark Holton.
- A flyover will feature four F-16s from the Minnesota National Guard’s 148th Fighter Wing, based out of Duluth. Immediately after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 and in the days and weeks that followed, pilots from the 148th Fighter Wing flew combat air patrol missions to keep the skies of Minnesota and the Midwest safe; they later deployed to Iraq in 2005, 2007 and 2008, and Afghanistan in 2012.
- God Bless America, which will be dedicated to the firefighters, first responders and all who acted so heroically on September 11, 2001, will be performed by Steve Wold during the seventh-inning stretch. Wold is a product developer at Thomson Reuters – one of 11 Twins partners that are Yellow Ribbon Companies.
- To help #ShineALight for 9/11 Day (a federally-recognized national day of service and remembrance), the Twins are working with Memorial Blood Center for critically-needed, life-saving blood donations.
Additionally, all on-field personnel will wear New Era caps with a memorial September 11th silhouetted ribbon patch on the right side.
18th annual Armed Forces Appreciation Day presented by Thomson Reuters – Sunday, September 12 vs. Kansas City Royals (1:10 p.m. first pitch)
Throughout Sunday’s game, the Twins will honor veterans and active servicemembers from all five branches of the military on the 18th annual Armed Forces Appreciation Day presented by Thomson Reuters. This year’s event will also celebrate the extraordinary efforts of the past 12 months by the brave men and women of the Minnesota National Guard, whose servicemembers truly lived up to their motto of “Always Ready, Always There” by accruing 11 million hours – more than five times the total of an average year – while serving in both a state and federal capacity, at home and abroad.
In support of Armed Forces Appreciation Day, Thomson Reuters has generously donated 1,000 tickets to Sunday’s game for active and retired members of the U.S. military, which have been distributed by the Military Family Assistance Centers throughout the state.
Through the “Seats for Soldiers” program, many Thomson Reuters Champions Club and Delta SKY360° Club season ticket holders, along with suite holders, have generously donated their tickets to wounded warriors and current service members and their families. Additionally, more than 40 Families of the Fallen, whose loved ones have served and died while on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States of America or its allies, will be hosted in donated suites and seats.
Starting at approximately 12:15 p.m., special pre- and in-game elements are scheduled to include:
- Military vehicle on display at Target Plaza outside Gates 29 and 34.
- In partnership with 3M, Twins fans in attendance at Target Field will be invited to create signs in support of the U.S. Armed Forces. Outdoor craft stations will be open from the time gates open through the end of the fourth inning at Gate 29, the Digital Clubhouse and throughout the main concourse; select signs will be displayed on the Target Field videoboard throughout the game.
- Pregame and in-game performances by the 34th Infantry Division’s Red Devil Rock Band from the third-floor balcony.
- The traditional Sunday “Race Around the Bases” will feature 10-year-old Jack Fossan, son of Sergeant First Class Shane Fossan, who just returned from deployment to Djibouti; and 10-year-old Karston Sherrill, son of First Sergeant James Sherrill, who just returned from deployment to Afghanistan.
- An initial ceremonial pitch will be thrown by Anthony Cicchese, representing military members throughout Twins Territory. An employee of Yellow Ribbon Company Thomson Reuters, Cicchese enlisted in the U.S. Army when he was 17 and served with the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky throughout his military career.
- Minnesotans’ Military Appreciation Fund (MMAF) Grants will be awarded to the following:
- Air Force Staff Sergeant Zach Husted of the 132nd Fighter Wing. A native of Chaska, Minnesota, Staff Sergeant Husted deployed twice to Iraq during his service.
- Army Sergeant First Class Tony Wilking of St. Cloud, Minnesota, who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, while also serving in Germany and South Korea, during his 20 years of active duty service from 1999-2019.
- Army Staff Sergeant Bryan Smitke of the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment. A native of Duluth, Minnesota, Staff Sergeant Smitke deployed to Afghanistan during his service.
- As per Armed Forces Appreciation Day tradition, the Twins remember and pay tribute to Twins Territory servicemembers whom we have lost during the past year. This year, the Twins will also honor the memory of Walter B. Straka, Minnesota’s last remaining survivor of the Bataan Death March, who passed away this past July 4 at the age of 101. Straka, who enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard at the age of 17 as a member of the 194th Tank Battalion, returned from the Philippines to his native Brainerd, where he ran a successful business and raised a family with Cleta, his wife of 64 years.
- “The Year of the Guard” video tribute will highlight the vital role Minnesota National Guard members have played over the 12 months, in both a state and federal capacity, to serve our communities (including COVID-19 support, ensuring the right to peaceful demonstrations during civil unrest in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and firefighting efforts in both Northern Minnesota and the state of Washington) and our country (including past and current deployments to Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Djibouti and Cuba).
- A second ceremonial pitch will be thrown by Master Sergeant Samuel Williams of the Minnesota Army National Guard. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Master Sergeant Williams – a 25-year military veteran – led a team of combat medics in training more than 300 Soldiers and Airmen who provided temporary nursing assistance at 21 long-term care facilities.
- Members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard; spouses of deployed service members; and Twins staff, Delaware North staff and Thomson Reuters staff who have served in the military will all line the outer infield lip during the National Anthem.
- The Perkins Starting Lineup will consist of the spouses of nine Minnesota National Guard servicemembers currently deployed with the 1st General Support Aviation Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment; the 434th Chemical Company; and the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment.
- The Twins Territory flag will be raised by Natalie Ehret, a Thomson Reuters employee who served in the U.S. Army Reserve as a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist.
- The American flag will be raised by Captain Joyce Johnson, a 100-year-old World War II veteran, accompanied by Senior Airman Tyler Ahrendt from the 133rd Airwing. Johnson, a native of Racine, Minnesota, served in active duty as part of the Eighth Air Force from June 1944 to July 1946, piloting a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress on bombing runs. Following the war, he served in the reserves with the 384th and 306th Bomb Groups, attaining the rank of Captain.
- The National Anthem will be performed by a quartet of two servicemembers from the U.S. Army and two from the U.S. Air Force: Sergeant First Class Ben Hanson, Specialist Samuel Bullert, Technical Sergeant Ryan Ringwelski and Master Sergeant Karly Tiegs.
- A pregame flyover will feature three UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the St. Paul and St. Cloud-based 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade.
- God Bless America will be performed by local singer, songwriter and recording artist Michael Loonan; he will then lead the crowd in Take Me Out to the Ballgame.
Twins broadcast partners Bally Sports North and the Treasure Island Baseball Network will celebrate the men and women of the Minnesota National Guard during both pregame coverage and during select inning breaks via stories, interviews and special “shout-outs” from currently deployed servicemembers; additionally, the National Anthem, God Bless America and Take Me Out to the Ballgame will all be televised live.