ESPN’s recognition of Veterans Day 2013, its fifth annual America’s Heroes: A Salute to the Troops Presented by USAA initiative, concludes tonight on Monday Night Football when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Miami Dolphins (8:25 p.m. ET, ESPN, ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN).
The poignant promotional spot above – themed to this day of remembrance and voiced by legendary actor Gene Hackman – sets the tone for tonight’s game.
Monday Night Countdown will kick off coverage from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa at 6:30 p.m. The 90-minute pregame will feature a “Gruden’s Extra” interview with Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who discusses how his parents met in an U.S. Army boot camp and the recent launch of his “Jackson in Action 83 Foundation,” a charity to provide support to military families.
Before kickoff, ESPN will carry the National Anthem ceremony at 8:34 p.m., which will include a large flag held by 140 military service men and women. The anthem will be sung by the United States Army Chorus and the game will include a USAA card stunt. (Editor’s Note: As a general rule, ESPN does not always show the National Anthem on MNF or other event telecasts.)
In-game coverage will feature other Veterans Day elements. And, when MNF analyst Jon Gruden identifies his “Gruden Grinder” heroes of the game, don’t be surprised to hear a shout-out for veteran Zach Stinson. The 24-year-old U.S. Marine Sgt. from Chambersburg, Pa., addressed the MNF production team in Pittsburgh on Veterans Day a year ago. MNF producer Jay Rothman and team were so impressed with Stinson they recruited him to help with the “Gruden Grinder” segment this season.
Speaking of Veterans Day events, it’s also worth noting that MNF reporter Lisa Salters will emcee the first Veterans Institute workshop presented by The Walt Disney Company on Thursday, Nov. 14, at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. The daylong workshop is part of Disney’s initiative to support veterans and encourage companies to hire them.