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Aldrin helps Dodgers honor service members

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Aldrin helps Dodgers honor service members play video for Aldrin helps Dodgers honor service members

LOS ANGELES -- Dodger Stadium was awash in red, white and blue on Monday afternoon in recognition of Memorial Day as the Dodgers hosted the Angels in an Interleague matchup.

"It's a day of remembrance, a day of honoring," Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda told the crowd before the pregame ceremonies.

Dr. Buzz Aldrin, who set foot on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, threw the ceremonial first pitch. A graduate of West Point and an MIT doctorate, Aldrin was also a fighter pilot in the Korean War with 66 combat missions.

"Memorial Day is very important to me, because I'm a military person," Aldrin said. "I had some very close friends who were POWs. I think veterans should be very proud."

Uniformed members of each branch of the military unfurled a giant American flag along with USO Captains in center field.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, delivered a special message before the game from Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.

The Dodgers welcomed 50 members of the Wounded Warriors Project on the field before the game. Founded in 2003, the project's mission is to honor and empower injured service members and raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for their needs when they return home.

"Memorial Day is a great time to remember all those people that are fighting for us," said Dodgers left-hander Chris Capuano, who has a niece in the Marine Corps. "It's just a great day to stop and think about the sacrifices they make for us."

There was a moment of silence prior to the game to honor members of the military who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Several active troops joined the Dodgers starters when they took the field.

In honor of Memorial Day, the Dodgers joined all 30 clubs by wearing specially designed caps and jerseys featuring an authentic military digital camouflage design licensed from the United States Marine Corps. The caps are on sale in merchandise stores at Dodger Stadium and available online at www.mlb.com.

"It's just another way to give them a shout out, tell them we're thinking about them," Capuano said.

Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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