MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Twins and the Minnesota National Guard today announced plans for the team's 11th annual Armed Forces Appreciation Day to honor veterans and active service members from all five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. This year the Minnesota Twins will commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

Thomson Reuters has generously donated 1,000 tickets 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 season ticket holders and suite holders have generously donated their seats and suites to wounded service members and their families. Gold Star Families, whose family members have served and died while on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States of America or its allies, will also be hosted in donated suites.

"Thanks to Thomson Reuters, Twins Suite Holders and Champions Club members for generously donating tickets for veterans and military service members," said Army Lt. Col. Kevin A. Olson, Minnesota National Guard Director of Public Affairs. "We're looking forward to an exciting day honoring our valued service members and to providing all service members and their families with a well-deserved day at the ballpark."

A special pregame ceremony is planned prior to the 1:10 p.m. game against the New York Yankees. Fans are encouraged to arrive by 12:15 p.m. to see the pregame elements.

Starting at 12:20 p.m. special pregame elements include:

  • The Minnesota Twins will be honored by being proclaimed as one of only 36 Yellow Ribbon Companies in the state.
  • The Minnesota National Guard's 34th Red Bull Infantry Division Rock Combo Band
  • John Hines serving as the on-field emcee
  • Thomson Reuters honoring their military and veteran employees
  • A special recognition of Twins and Delaware North Sportservice employees who have a military affiliation.
  • A special memorial tribute to service members from Twins Territory who have died while on active duty since October 2013.
  • An unfurling of a giant flag by members of the Armed Forces
  • Ceremonial first pitches thrown by General John W. Vessey (former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff) and Claire Giancola-Belmares whose son recently enlisted in the Army.
  • Barry Winslow presents a check on behalf of the Minnesotan's Military Appreciation Fund to four Purple Heart recipients
  • Raising of the American Flag by Fred Jenness, a Purple Heart Recipient
  • Raising of the Twins Territory Flag by children of military families
  • Ron Gardenhire will present a POW flag to Retired Ambassador Bruce Laingen, who was the most senior American official held hostage during the Iran hostage crisis, serving as the Chargé d'affaires (head of diplomatic mission) at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
  • The National Anthem will be performed by Army Veteran and performing artist Rockie Lynne of the Minnesota National Guard.
  • A flyover will be performed by WWII-era aircraft including four T-6 Trainers and one B-25 Bomber.