News: Soldiers recognized at UAB during Salute to Armored Service gmae
Sgt. Sheila Holifield
314th Public Affairs Operations Center
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – During Veteran’s Day many businesses and establishments pay tribute to those who serve our country. Among these was the University of Alabama at Birmingham who honored more than 100 soldiers throughout Birmingham at a special Salute to Armed Services game.
“This was the perfect opportunity to honor all active, reserve, and veteran service members and thank them for their sacrifices,” said Briana Carson, a marketing representative at UAB. “Most people either have a family member that is in the military, or knows someone that is so recognizing their service and sacrifice is something that everyone can relate to and respect.”
One UAB Blazer that certainly understands a soldier’s sacrifice is #33 starting outside linebacker, Derek Slaughter, son to Lt. Col. Kirk Slaughter, deputy chief operations and plans officer with the 87th United States Army Reserve Support Command (East).
“Growing up with my dad in the military, I have always had a great deal of respect for soldiers and when my dad was deployed to Iraq, I saw the daily sacrifices he made to serve our country,” said Derek.
Slaughter, who joined the military several years before his son Derek was born, said he believes in serving our country.
“It’s important to pass on the legacy to serve this country from generation to generation,” said Slaugther.
In the spring, Derek plans to join UAB’s Reserve Officer Training Corps program and said the military is something that has always interested him. As a sophomore at UAB, he said he would like to specialize in aviation in the Army.
He added that he is very excited about his ROTC plans and feels blessed to be given the opportunity to not only play football, but also become a soldier.
“I see my dad put on the uniform every day and live by the seven Army Values,” said Derek. “He has taught me and my entire family to also live by those values and to be able to serve alongside him in the military would be an honor and a blessing.”
Prior to the Salute to Armed Services football game, soldiers from the 87th, Gulf Training Division and UAB’s Army ROTC program led the Blazers onto the field before they faced off against Marshall. Soldiers also enjoyed a patriotic half-time show that included a collaboration of patriotic symbols and music while they were recognized.
“It is an honor for our Soldiers to be allowed to represent the past and present veterans in the service of our great nation, who sacrificed so much freedom,” said Brig. Gen. Eddie Chesnut, commander of Gulf Division, 75th Training Command.