Fallen Heroes Night


Marvin Hall

Grand Ledge Senior linebacker, Bear Nelson, taking a photo with the family of one of our fallen heroes.

Brody Conaty, Opinion Editor

      Friday, Sep. 28th, marked the ninth annual Fallen Heroes night at Grand Ledge High School. Every year, the Comet football team takes the field representing the names of fallen soldiers from the United States military from the great state of Michigan. For Grand Ledge, this is a huge event every year for the players, the veterans, and the community. In the game, the Comets fell just short of what would have been a huge upset over in-state football powerhouse, Brother Rice. Even though GL failed to come out with a win, it was still a memorable night.

    Prior to kickoff, veterans honored those who have fallen fighting for our freedom and country. A Grand Ledge veteran from the Post 48 Legion performed ‘Taps’ a song played on the bugle to recognize fallen veterans.Taps is a song performed by a single bulge and it is known to be played at flag ceremonies and military funerals.  Following ‘Taps’ was another salute titled ‘21 gun salute’ where veterans or active military members fire rifles into the air 21 times. It is intended to salute their fallen brothers. 21-gun salutes are performed at all military funerals. During these two salutes, the entire stadium was silent, paying their respect to those who had fallen to protect our country. At halftime, the military was represented again as a helicopter flew over the stadium, leaving everyone in attendance in awe.

      After the pregame commemoration of the military and fallen veterans, the game began. Even though they came away with a loss, the Comet football team played a hard -fought game and their effort did not disappoint. Facing up with one of the best teams in the state, Brother Rice, GL came into the game with a chip on their shoulder. GL took the lead 28-24,with a touchdown by Chase Warren late in the third quarter. Inevitably, Brother Rice was able to take control of the game with a late touchdown of their own and an interception to seal the game, as they won 31-28. Warren, senior running back, had an outstanding game piling up 132 yards and a touchdown. For the players, this is a special experience and a moment in their careers that they will not soon forget.

     “It was a great experience being able to play on such a special night,” Warren continued, “It means everything to be able to represent the people who have died protecting our country.”

    On the back of Warren’s jersey was the last name of Joseph Johnson who was a resident of Flint, Michigan. He passed away fighting for America’s freedom on a tour in Afghanistan, in 2010. For the families of these fallen soldiers, it is a special night for them to remember their loved ones, and also meet other families who have lost their loved ones in combat.

    After the clock hit zero, both teams stood on their respective sidelines as the stadium announcer, John Ellsworth, read off all the names of the veterans who were represented on the back of the Grand Ledge jerseys. There was a moment of silence as everyone in attendance paid their respects and saluted to the past and present soldiers.

It means everything to be able to represent the people who have died protecting our country.

— Chase Warren

     Even when the stadium was emptied and the game had concluded, the festivities did not end there. A majority of the Comet football team had the pleasure of meeting the families of the courageous fallen hero whose name they wore on their back. For both the families and the players, this is the highlight of the night. The players get to learn more about the hero they wore on their back and the families get to honor and remember their loved one. Overall, this was a special night for everyone involved, putting another successful Fallen Heroes Night in the books.