Winston-Salem, N.C. — The sun was shining and the weather was perfect. You couldn’t ask for a better day for a football game and a day filled with activities aimed at showing appreciation for the military.

Over 100 Soldiers from Fort Bragg attended Military Appreciation Day on Sept. 22, hosted by Wake Forest University in conjunction with the West Point Society of the Piedmont.

The day kicked off with an indoor tailgate party hosted by the volunteers of the West Point Parents Club of North Carolina and the West Point Society of the Piedmont. In total, nearly 1,400 people attended the event which included a cookout style buffet and entertainment by the Rabble Rousers (cheer leaders and the Cadet Rally Band from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point).

“It’s nice to get a mix up… being on Bragg a lot, you see people who are used to the military and then coming out and spending time with civilians you actually see how a lot of them are really appreciative of what you do for your country,” said Pfc. Matthew Lomasney of Troop C, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.

Once the tailgate party concluded, the attendees and Soldiers moved over to BB&T Stadium to cheer for Army as they faced off against Wake Forest.

Before the kick off, the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights jumped into the stadium to the roar of the crowd. The official coin toss was presided over by Staff Sgt. Tracy Burchard, a member of the Fort Bragg Warrior Transition Battalion.

“We walked around the stadium and there were people who were thanking us for our service who were from Wake Forest and that was good to see.” said Spc. Justin Leach of 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Abn. Div.

Although the Army lost the game 49-37, the military won in the long run as Sept. 22 was declared Military Appreciation Day by Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines.

Lomasney added, “It’s something you don’t really expect … but when you get thanked for your service, it’s a good feeling to know that people outside the military really care.”

“It feels good when people who aren’t in the Army thank you. It’s nice to see all the people showing their appreciation at one time.” said Leach.