(Above) SSG Charles “Jack” Kennedy, of Clear Lake, appears on the jumbotron at Chicago’s Wrigley Field as he was honored for his service during World War II.
by Marianne Gasaway
Lots of youngsters dream of standing on a professional baseball field one day being cheered by thousands; few achieve it.
As a young boy, Jack Kennedy vividly remembers his father tuning into Des Moines’ WHO radio and the two would listen as Ronald Reagan read the play by play of the Chicago Cubs baseball team back in the mid-1930s. Although a fan for 80-years, Jack never made it to Wrigley Field to watch his beloved Cubs in person. That all changed on July 25.
At the bottom of the fourth inning, in a game between the Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks, 93-year-old Jack walked onto Wrigley Field bathed in the sound of 35,000 fans cheering and saluting him for his service in World War II.
The Cubs have signed a three-year partnership with Boeing to create a series of military recognitions both at Wrigley Field and around the world. Activations include a military salute in the fourth inning of every Cubs home game, a first pitch at every Sunday home game by either active or retired military personnel, and the creation of several military-themed days in the team’s schedule.
Jack’s granddaughter, Ginny Conforti and her husband, Greg, who live in Chicago, nominated Jack for special recognition. He was accompanied to the game by the couple, along with Jack’s wife, Wanda, son Scott, son-in-law Al Roper, from Florida, and grandchildren Charles Roper, from Oregon, and Samantha Bristol, from Wyoming.
The special recognition was made possible by the USO of Illinois, Boeing, and of course the Chicago Cubs.
The jumbotron in centerfield shared Jack’s image as he proudly stood on the field near the Cub’s dugout and waved. The Wrigley field announcer shared this message:
“Ladies and gentlemen, please stand as we recognize from the United States Army Staff Sergeant Charles “Jack” Kennedy of Clear Lake, Iowa, a life long Cubs fan enjoyingTo read more of this article, please login or sign up for our E-Edition