Dodgers honor military with Fourth of July events

Dodgers honor military with Fourth of July events

Dodgers honor military with Fourth of July events
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers had a lengthy tribute to members of the military on the Fourth of July as part of Military Appreciation Night. A flag of the United States of America was draped across the outfield, stretching from left to right field, and recording artist Billy Ray Cyrus sang the national anthem.

A number of members of the Wounded Warriors project lined the outfield and videos of Dodgers fans deployed in Afghanistan were displayed on the JumboTron.

In between the top and bottom of the first, a soldier and Dodgers fan stationed in Afghanistan surprised his wife, who was in attendance, with a video message letting her know he was OK and how much he missed her.

Army Specialists Joseph Paulk and Luis Dahlman threw out the ceremonial first pitch and kicked off the game chanting, "It's time for Dodger baseball."

Both were injured while serving -- Paulk in Afghanistan and Dahlman in Iraq -- and they were part of the Welcome Back Veterans program and UCLA Operation Mend.

An all-stadium Salute to the Troops opened the celebration.

Before the game started, manager Don Mattingly talked to reporters about what it's like playing on Independence Day.

"As a player, it was always the one day that was kind of weird because as a kid you grow up with picnics and fireworks and hanging out with your family and as players we're here," he said. "Then I look at the NBA and they are playing on Christmas, it's part of it. For us to be part of the past time and thinking about our independence of our country, it's kind of cool."