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Remember, thank a veteran today

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Al Blozis

Today marks Memorial Day, when we honor the brave men and women of our armed services who have fought -- and died -- protecting the freedoms we enjoy.

Professional sports franchises are not immune to the costs of war, and the New York Giants are no exception.

I did a little research looking for Giants' players who had served their country. Specifically, any who had been killed in battle.

I came across two -- Al Blozis and Jack Lummus -- both killed in World War II.

Here is an article I found about the Giants honoring both fallen players.

On December 2, 1945, the first page of the Giants vs. Eagles program said:

Blozis, Lummus, Who Died in War, Honored by Giants

This last day of the professional football season at the Polo Grounds is dedicated by the Giants to two of their team mates who lost their lives in the war, Al Blozis who died in the Vosges Mountains, and Jack Lummus who was killed on Iwo Jima.

At and Jack were splendid men. That they also were grand fellows and fine football players now, alas, is only incidental. The Giants miss them. They miss their fellowship, they miss the tone these men lent to the clubhouse and field ensemble.

Today plaques commemorating their deeds are unveiled here at the Polo Grounds.>

Blozis joined the Giants in 1942 after winning fame in football and as the world's champion shot putter at Georgetown. Big At (he weighed 250 and stood 6:6) did well in his freshman year with the pros. In his second he won all league tackle honors.

After the 1943 gridiron campaign the North Bergen, N. J. giant got into the Army the hard way. He had been turned down several times because of his size. After winning his gold bars, At received special permission to play with the Giants the last three 1944 games. His gridiron farewell was December 17 when the Giants opposed the Green Bay Packers for the title. Two days later At was on his way to the front.

1st Lt. Lummus was killed in an infantry-tank attack which broke one of the Japs' final and most stubborn lines of resistance on Iwo Jima. The following year, On May 5, 1946 Harry S. Truman, President of the United States, signed the Citation awarding posthumously the Medal of Honor to First Lieutenant Jack Lummus.

The Giants retired Blozis' No. 32 in 1945. Here is a little more info on Lummus.

Remember, if you see a veteran today, or you know one and you haven't done it already, make sure you thank him or her for serving their country.