Flags Fly at Westmoore’s First Veteran Recognition Game

After weeks of quarantine, Varsity Football honors veterans at the first military recognition game


Gisselle Acuna

Junior Bralen McCalister, #29 of Varsity Football, runs across the field with an American flag.

Picture it – A bright, sunny Saturday as faint applause begins to crescendo into loud, spirited energy from the crowd. The football players make their grand entrance with American flags in their arms and custom star-spangled jerseys. For our team this image was a reality.

It was the team’s first game that recognized and honored our soldiers. It was sponsored by Warrior’s for Freedom organization, an organization dedication to raising money for the well-being of veterans.

The game could not have come at a better time. The varsity team had just come off their first two-week COVID-19 quarantine after a few players had tested positive for COVID-19. The 1:00pm game was a first for the team – first afternoon game, first Saturday game, first patriotic jerseys and first military recognition game.

Coach Zo Williams stands along side his players during the moment of silence. (Kenny Kim)

“I found out that the game would be on a Saturday afternoon about two days after being quarantined.” The quarantine was something we had never experienced before and made a big impact on how we played,” varsity football player Blake Linn said.

Before the start of the game, the University of Oklahoma’s ROTC joined the event by presenting the colors. The players then jogged onto the field and stood at attention with their flags. A serene moment of silence to honor all those who have served was shared between everyone at the stadium.

“The moment of silence to me was very moving, athletic secretary and co-coordinator of the event Carrie Vaughn said. “Right now, during these hard times, I think it reminds us of the people who have fought for our freedoms and who are still fighting for us.”

Michael Knight, Westmoore’s resource officer and the co-coordinator of the event, served in as an Army specialist for four years and a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant was given an award recognizing his service. All military members were also recognized. “They were presented coins and given individual recognition at halftime. We also gave out the game ball,” Knight said.

“I am very honored and proud of the work that was put into our event. This was the first of many years to come of it and I look forward to doing it again,” Vaughn said.