Memorial Day is celebrated differently when it comes to families of our fallen heroes; It’s a day of reflection, love, sadness and hope. This year Memorial Day for one fallen Marine’s Family was celebrated with an American Pastime, baseball! Attending the Anaheim Angels versus the New York Yankees game, both very patriotic and all American teams, in Angel Stadium. The ceremonial first pitch is usually a political figure or stadium sponsor however this year, the first pitch was thrown out by a 14 year old boy with more than 44,000 people in attendance. Oscar Jimenez stood there next to his mother and siblings ready to throw the ball but scared it would bounce when he pitched to Angels right fielder, Torii Hunter.
Alejandrina kept the first pitch a secret from her children until 20 minutes before it was thrown. She told the children that they were going to the game to honor their father on Memorial Day. When they arrived, they were escorted to the field where they watched the Yankees batting practice. During practice they met and got autographs from Derek Jeter and Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson. Then it was time, Alejandrina told Oscar he was going to throw the first pitch and he went silent.
What made Oscar special on this Memorial Day was that his father Marine 1st LT Oscar Jimenez was killed in Iraq in 2004. To honor them and their father’s sacrifice, the Jimemez family; Oscar, his brother Christopher, sister Vanessa and his mother Alejandrina were the special guest of the Los Angeles Angels and the Got Your Back Network. The Angels organization is very proud of our veterans and their families, honoring them when possible. Alejandrina and her children are part of the Got Your Back family, an organization whose mission is to brighten the days of the families of our fallen heroes.
Just moments after being told of his mothers secret, before it had all sunk in, the four of them walked out onto the field while their fathers name was being said along with his record in the Marines. Oscar took his place and waited, while the crowd was on their feet cheering for him. “Oscar, let’s play ball” was said by the announcer and he wound up and threw… it didn’t bounce! Torii came up to shake his hand, autograph his ball and take some photos. Then it was game time.
After the game Vanessa said, “ Got Your Back Network made this Memorial Day for the Jimenez Family a day to cherish for the rest of our lives. I can’t stop smiling when I think about the day we just had. Hearing my dad’s story echo around the stadium and all the people who stood up and clapped for him was amazing.”
The Angels went on to beat the Yankee’s 9-8 at the start of their series. If you are a surviving spouse or would like to volunteer please register at Got Your Back Network.