On June 19, the Washington Nationals dedicated their game against the Houston Astros to the men and women that serve their country. The major league baseball team honored Army members and veterans at the game as part of the Army's 239th birthday celebration.

Army groups, including the United States Blues Band and the Army Drill team, performed as baseball fans took their seats. The opening ceremonies began with the National Anthem, sung by the Army Chorus. The first ball was pitched by Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno.

"I always love performing at big venues like Nationals Park. The support from the crowd is overwhelming and it just solidifies the fact that what we are doing is important and appreciated by so many great Americans," said Cpl. Derek Ivey, U.S. Army Drill team soloist.

The Army's 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as the Old Guard, received special recognition for their valiant service to their nation. They were invited onto the field before the game to experience the opening ceremony. Three soldiers from the Old Guard, including Staff Sgt. Jacob C. West, Headquarters Company, and Spc. Vincent A. Cottle, H-HC Regiment, were chosen to be the Washington Nationals' VIP guests, and sat in the Lexus Presidents Suite during the team's batting practice prior to the official game.

The game ball was delivered by Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh. He went onto express his appreciation to the Washington Nationals and had a message for troops overseas:

"This week particularly, the 239th birthday, we want to tell them, first of all, how much we continue to value their service, their sacrifice, and all the freedoms that lucky people like me get to enjoy. [These freedoms] were first won by and now preserved by the men and women who put on that Army uniform. God bless them for that, and Army strong."

Although the game was in honor of the Army's birthday, the Washington Nationals are known to host "branch" nights to honor both those serving and veterans living their life after service. The next branch night will be Aug. 6 and will be honoring the Coast Guard.

The Washington Nationals won their game against the Astros 6-5. They faced a setback in the fourth inning, when the Houston Astros scored four runs, but were able to make an underdog comeback in the seventh inning.