The Winston-Salem Open will honor America’s service men and women with Military Appreciation Night on Monday, Aug. 22.
The tournament will provide 250 complimentary tickets to military personnel, veterans and their families through the USO, Blue Star Families, Blue Star Mothers and other military outreach organizations.
All other military personnel will receive 50 percent off their tickets with proper military identification.
USO North Carolina will also assist in providing color guards, the singer for the National Anthem, and an officer for the coin toss.
Robin Jones, the USTA’s national military outreach coordinator, urges all fans to come and show their patriotism and honor the service men and women in attendance..
"Right now, our military is under incredible stress," Jones said. "We’ve never been in a 10-year conflict asking the same people to serve away from their families over and over and over. It is very important that the civilian communities in which they live reach out and try to make their return easier and try to make their families’ lives easier while they’re away, and we just want to say thank-you."
The Winston-Salem Open is one of five tournaments in the Olympus US Open Series that will salute military personnel during the summer. The other four are ATP events in Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Atlanta and a WTA event in Carlsbad, Calif.
The USTA has long supported veterans and been actively involved in military outreach programs in particular over the past three years. One of its most-successful programs is the Adopt A Unit drive, where members can send care packages to service men and women currently deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
This spring, the USTA was singled out for its role in the Joining Forces iniative led by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden.
"With any national effort, it takes a while to catch on, but I’d say in the past year the momentum has been building and building," Jones said. "We were very fortunate in April to be included in the White House Joining Forces initiative. That’s an effort the First Lady and Dr. Biden are making to ask civilian organizations to reach out to military families and find ways to make them feel more a part of their community. The USTA was highlighted in that announcement, so we have all taken that very seriously and there’s a lot going on right now in the USTA to reach out to the military. You’re going to really start to see it as the year goes on."
For more information on the USTA’s involvement, go to www.usta.com/military.