Memorial Day a family affair for Francona

Memorial Day a family affair for Francona

CLEVELAND -- Memorial Day means a little more to Indians manager Terry Francona these days. Appreciation for the annual holiday grew for him after his son, Nick, joined the United States Marines and served overseas.

Prior to Monday's Memorial Day game against the Rangers, Francona said he knows this day should have carried more weight for him years earlier.

"For right or wrong, my feelings probably changed when my son went into the Marines," Francona said. "I probably started to be a little more respectful of days like this than I probably should've been all along. I know during the National Anthem, I probably think more about things that maybe I should've [thought about] a long time ago."

In 2011, Nick Francona served in Afghanistan as the commander of a Marine brigade's scout-sniper platoon. The son of the Cleveland manager currently works in the player development department for the Dodgers, following a stint in the Angels' front office during the '14 season.

Since taking over as the Indians' manager in 2013, Francona has helped with a "Friends of Francona" program that hosts members of the military or first responders for each Sunday home game.

"Back in generations before me, you didn't sign up. You had to go," he said. "Now, that's not the case. People volunteer. And I think what's kind of neat is, they refer to people as heroes. But, what they are, are regular people that choose to do something that helps us live our life how we want to.

"I guess that's what makes a hero. That's pretty cool. Unfortunately, along the way, people lose their lives, they have injuries that hurt their way of life. It's difficult to understand, but hopefully it's not just today that we remember."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.