A story about a REAL hero

From Yahoo! Sports, 3/18/2009

Red, white and blue, through and through

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The flag traveled around the world and through the deserts of Afghanistan and Iraq. Sgt. Felix Perez brought it from home as a reminder and an amulet. The flag never left his Army backpack.

It accompanied Perez to Dolphin Stadium on Tuesday night. He needed some luck for his team, the United States, in its must-win World Baseball Classic game against Puerto Rico. Perez wore a Team USA hat and a Team USA hoodie, and his little sister, Jessica, draped his flag across her shoulders. The United States’ 6-5 come-from-behind victory in the ninth inning sent them into a frenzy. She danced around. He sat in his motorized wheelchair and roared.

On the way out, the 27-year-old Perez placed the flag in his lap and leaned over to a security guard manning Gate G. He was hoping some players from Team USA might sign it. The security guard led Perez and his sister to the U.S. clubhouse, and the flag went inside.

“The next thing I know,” Perez said, “I’m getting called to come back in there.”

And so began the coolest 30 minutes of Felix Perez’s life. On an evening when he felt especially proud to be an American – when a group of his sporting heroes wearing his country’s name across their chests banded together to win a game they had no business winning – Perez found himself surrounded by them, doused with celebratory Miller Lites, with the American flag that was with him during the worst moment of his life passed around the room and signed by every player on the team.

“Everybody,” Perez said.

Then they handed him a ball filled with signatures.

“Everybody,” Perez said.

The half-hour went too fast. Jimmy Rollins, who scored the winning run, wanted to chat more. David Wright, who drove it in, couldn’t hear enough about how the New York Mets are Perez’s favorite team. Almost half the team surrounded Perez for a photograph, the flag draped around his torso, a smile on every face, and none brighter than his….

LINK TO ARTICLE

This is a clear illustration of who the real heroes in uniform are…and those heroes’ uniforms don’t include cleats or a bat.

Well done, Team USA. And thank you for your sacrifice, Sgt. Perez.

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