Free to play ball
So folks will have to forgive us if we choked up a bit at the opening ceremony for the final phase of the new Great Park Sports Park, particularly as the flag waved beneath beautiful blue skies, and the Grammy Award-winning Woodbridge High School Choir sang the national anthem.
As the final notes gave way to applause, the impact of the transformation of the land surrounding the baseball fields where we stood took hold. In this place, thousands of servicemen and servicewomen served at the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. Thousands of young men and women flew off to fight for freedom in the South Pacific, Korea and Vietnam. Many never made it back.
Now, kids born after the base was closed are here throwing, hitting and catching baseballs and softballs as their families cheer them on. Some of those kids may have parents or grandparents who served at MCAS El Toro. No doubt the families of others playing today moved to Orange County from war-torn countries so their children might enjoy the freedoms of this country, which were defended by those who served. Like the freedom to play ball on a beautiful fall afternoon.