WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – The Washington Nationals will dedicate their April 4 home opener to the victims and survivors of the Sept. 2013 Navy Yard shootings.
A number of pre-game events will pay tribute to those affected, beginning with a Navy Ceremonial Guard flag raising ceremony, overseen by Vice Admiral Willy Hilarides, the commander of the Naval Sea Systems Command, the Navy command whose headquarters was the site of the shooting.
“We feel incredibly honored that the Nationals chose to make this day about the perseverance of our workforce,” Hilarides said. “From the beginning, the entire Nats organization has been the ultimate good neighbor – offering space for families to reconnect after the shooting, providing food, honoring the victims on the field. We are truly grateful for all they’ve done and continue to do.”
The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Navy Captain Chip Zawislak, and accompanied by Jennifer Bennett, Michael Jackson and Makonnen Eyob. Bennett suffered from several gunshot wounds to the shoulder during the shooting, and Zawislak, Jackson and Eyob kept her alive for hours while waiting for rescue and hiding from the shooter on the roof of the NAVSEA headquarters building.
Also, the game ball will be delivered by Rear Adm. Mark Rich, the Washington Navy Yard’s commandant. The lineup card will be delivered by D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier.
Mary Knight, whose mother Mary was killed during the shooting, will make the “play ball” announcement.
Opening pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.
The Nationals organization has remained dedicated to remembering the victims and survivors since the tragedy, paying tribute by offering free tickets to games to Navy Yard personnel, and in 2013, holding an auction with proceeds benefiting families who lost loved ones in the shootings.
The Navy Yard is located roughly 1 mile from Nationals Park.
Click here to donate to the Navy Yard Tragedy Tragedy Family Support Fund.