Updated: Monday, 08 Nov 2010, 9:50 AM CST
Published : Sunday, 07 Nov 2010, 10:14 AM CST
GREEN BAY - Veteran's Day isn't until Thursday, but the Green Bay Packers organization wanted to make sure it did its part to say thank you.
“The sacrifices they make provide us the opportunity to enjoy football games,” said Aaron Popkey, Packers spokesman.
The Packers along with Oshkosh Defense and the Wisconsin National Guard helped salute America's troops before a sold out crowd and a national television audience.
More than 100 members of the Wisconsin National Guard's 951st "sapper" Engineer Company were recognized at halftime of tonight's game. The unit is from the Tomahawk and Rhinelander areas. It returned from Afghanistan this summer.
Military leaders, including Under Secretary of the Army Joseph Westphal, toured the Packers Hall of Fame before the game.
“It means a lot to us as we are trying to lead the service members into some very difficult operations in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Westphal.
Every fan attending the game received a veteran support flag.
“This is very nice of the Packers to think so much of us and the troops and what everyone in uniform does,” said Aaron Kluck who served in the United States Air Force.
Kluck, along with hundreds of others, signed one of the signature walls put up in the stadium to show support for the troops. For each signature, Oshkosh Defense is donating $2 to the Fisher House Foundation. It provides military families the ability to be close to loved ones who are hospitalized.
“It’s just the right thing to do to give back,” said Eddy Garcia with Oshkosh Defense. “Give back to those that give their all for our country and for our freedom.”
Garcia is the director of marketing and communications for Oshkosh Defense, but before that he was a kicker for the Packers in the early '80s. He says the NFL's support for troops has grown since his playing days.
“Ever since desert storm and now the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism, I think this country is so united that we've really seen it in the last decade in the NFL,” said Garcia.
The Packers say they realize the games they play wouldn't be made possible without the troops. They say having a game to say thank you is the least they can do.
FOX 11's Ben Krumholz will have more on the "military appreciation game" on FOX 11 News at Nine.