Updated April 20, 2017
In my journeys to ballparks I’ve met all types of fans and one is a super patriot. Her name is Mary Klepper and she is a part-time employee of the Baltimore Orioles. I met her at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., because of my daughter Angela Montgomery, a young woman who is also a real patriot. I saw games with Angela while she was an officer in the United States Air Force and have been to virtually every national monument in the Washington area with her. We have even jogged together through the Capitol Mall. Mary is the Orioles Flag Team Leader and I have served on that team eight times (six times with Angela); seven for the Orioles Season Home Opener and once at an American League Division Series Game. There are 18 team members and everyone is needed to drape a 30-by-42-foot replica of the Fort McHenry flag over the batter’s-eye wall in center field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Sixteen unfurl it and two on the field hold it steady with ropes. It is quite an honor to be associated with the flag best known as the inspiration for our National Anthem. “Oh, say can you see?” refers to the Fort McHenry flag. Mary also organized “Operation Welcome Home” in which the Orioles hosted wounded Gulf War Marines stationed at Bethesda Naval Hospital and their families at an Oriole Park at Camden Yards game. Angela and I were proud to participate. Mary actually knows how to say “thank you” to those who have sacrificed for our country. The final two patriotic events in which Angela and I participated because of Mary were tailgate-party games with paramedics and their families at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. That’s why in the remainder of this module you’ll see many Phillies fans as well as Orioles fans. I have to admit something. I’ve started to root for the O’s. It almost seems non-patriotic not to pull for them.