MIAMI (CBS4)-In honor of Independence Day, the Florida Marlins gave away free tickets to military personnel, and fans too will also get perks for the July 4th Marlins game versus the Philadelphia Phillies.

“We love our troops,” said Marlin Mermaids member Ashley.

On Friday, the Mermaids, Billy the Marlin and Marlins staff visited military personnel at the Homestead Air Reserve Base to take photos, sign autographs and hand deliver complimentary tickets for Monday’s game.

“We are really grateful for all these opportunities they give us,” said David Davis who serves in the U.S Air Force. “What we give each other is great.”

Marlins fans also get giveaways. The game, held at Sun Life Stadium, will include two giveaways for the first 10,000 fans, including a Marlins Military Boots Poster courtesy of Stanley Tools and a mini American flag, appearances and entertainment by the Mermaids, Manatees, and Billy the Marlin.

In addition, an on-field pregame ceremony will be held, including a full Color Guard and first pitch with a Wounded Warrior and a special post-game fireworks spectacular.

“Baseball is America’s favorite pastime and to be able to step away from the job and enjoy an afternoon of baseball and fireworks is just outstanding,” said Michael Montano who serves in the U.S. Air Force Reserves.

The perks are all part of the “Stars and Stripes” ticket program, which was unveiled by the Marlins in 2003 and was established to demonstrate their appreciation of the U.S. military.

“The military matters to the Marlins Organization because they’re amazing men and women out there fighting for our county,” said Mermaid Ashley.

The program allows military staff, including active and reserve personnel, National Guard, and their families, to receive up to four bullpen box tickets to Marlins regular season Sunday games and the July 4th game for free.



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