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Baltimore Orioles host, honor families of fallen soldiers on Memorial Day

Baltimore Orioles host, honor families of fallen soldiers on Memorial Day
Baltimore Orioles host, honor families of fallen soldiers on Memorial Day 02:01

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles honored fallen heroes and their families at Camden Yards this Memorial Day. 

While Memorial Day is a holiday weekend filled with barbeques and travel, it's a somber day of remembrance for military families grieving their fallen heroes.

The Orioles invited a few families to Camden Yards ahead of the ball game and gave them the all-star treatment to honor their loved ones.

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, known as TAPS, cares for the families of fallen military members. 

Four families were taken to the field to watch the O's take batting practice and get autographs from Orioles players like Gunnar Henderson.

An experience that is surely bittersweet.

"My son is actually throwing out the first pitch, he's a baseball player - and my Nate was a baseball player as well, so I do enjoy baseball," said Jeanette Middleton-Sudano, surviving mother of Airman First Class Nathaniel McDavitt. "It's fun to be in this stadium - you know, it's alive and that's what my son would be wanting me to be doing, being alive and celebrating life."

McDavitt died in 2016 after extreme winds caused damage to the building in which he was working in Southwest Asia. The Severna Park High School graduate was just 22 years old.

Celebrating life - while mourning the loss of a loved one is no easy process. But the TAPS program and the Orioles are showing families that there is power in their pain when shared together.

"It's just a really nice way of uplifting us all and helping us through this very difficult time," Middleton-Sudano said. "There's not really a guideline that says you're going to bury your child and this is what happens next right?"

"It's an incredible opportunity for them to make new memories about their loved one," Diana Hosford, TAPS Vice President of Sports & Entertainment. 

And that's what makes this community of shoulders to lean on so special for families who utilize the many resources the TAPS program has to offer.

Moments like a ball game, and the all-star treatment, to share in the love and memories of the fallen.

"Nathan's forever 22 - he was an airman in the United States Air Force - he was very proud to serve this country, love of his community - he was a real outstanding young man - and I just thank you for honoring him today and all of these families."

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