By Sgt. True Thao
U.S. service members donning their favorite sports jerseys gathered around televisions in the USO and the dining facility as Super Bowl 53 kicked off in Atlanta, Georgia.
Although kickoff was at 12:30 a.m. local time, there were many football fans watching the game. Those in attendance were grateful for the opportunity to watch the NFL’s biggest game.
“I am having a great time watching the game, I’m a big Patriots fan. Go Pats” said Army Sgt. Chance Parker Wilson.
Parker who is from Groton, Conn., is a long-time Patriots fan and was excited to cheer on his team from afar.
What helped make it possible for the troops to watch the big game was the USO, an organization that has been serving the men and women in the U.S. military for over 77 years.
The USO’s mission is to strengthen America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home, and country during their service to the nation. The USO provides troops with a place to go to relax, enjoy a home-like atmosphere and connect with their loved ones or battle buddies.
Many troops enjoy the USO’s popular amenties – video games, TVs, board games– and free events, like this one.
“It’s a great place to come relax from a long day of work,” Parker said.
USO events like this also allow troops to build camaraderie within the units. Coming together to enjoy a common interest, like football, helps boost morale among the troops and gives them a break from their daily duties.
“It’s a good way to come together, relax and enjoy a game of football,” Parker said. “Everybody that I know in the Army loves sports. It lifts everyone’s spirit up.”
-This story originally appeared on DVIDShub.net. It has been edited for USO.org.
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