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Carrying The Flag (3/7/14)

BY JON LUJAN


Opening Ceremony outfit!

Me and Great Britain's flag bearer Millie Knight

Hello America, and greetings from Sochi, Russia!

I wanted to do a quick blog update and share with you all some very good news. A few days ago we were all given the opportunity to nominate a flag bearer to represent our country and team for the Opening Ceremony at Fisht Stadium. The process went like this:

Each team (alpine, snowboarding, Nordic, curling and hockey) was allowed to nominate a flag bearer and a voting delegate. I was amazed to find out that my team nominated me as their choice. WOW!

The next step was all of the nominees and voting reps got on a conference call and we were given 2-3 minutes to say why we thought we should be chosen to carry the flag. After we gave our speeches, we were then excused and the voting reps took it from there. After hearing all of the speeches I was certain that no matter which of the five was chosen that Team USA would have the right person.  About 30 minutes later I was sitting in the athletes lounge and Chris Devlin-Young came in and informed me that I was the one that was chosen. I literally said “Are you serious?” I was, for once in my life, speechless. I can’t begin to tell you, number one, what an honor it will be to carry the flag and, two, to know that I will lead our delegation into the stadium in front of thousands in the stadium and millions of viewers around the world.

OH MY GOSH I AM THE FLAG BEARER FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND TEAM USA. I am getting a little choked up just reading this.

Our flag has always had a deep meaning to me, growing up with Grandpas who served in World War II, uncles who served in Vietnam and a father who was a police officer; well, I guess you could say a family of patriots who served the country. After joining the Marine Corps that pride grew even more. Our flag is flown at every government building, raised every morning on flag poles around the country and world, is draped over the caskets of our fallen service members and has stood in every battle since 1776. A little-known secret is that I have a tattoo of one on my right calf. I think you get what I am saying.

The last few days have been a whirlwind of interviews and questions about being the flag bearer and just show the magnitude of how truly special this honor is. Being in the small pool of athletes who make it to the Paralympic Games and in the even smaller pool of athletes who carry their nation’s flag is somewhere I never would have dreamed of being eight years ago.

Anyhow, as I prepare tonight for the Opening Ceremony know that I am honored to be your representative and to carry the colors of our nation on an international level of great proportions. Thank you for such a truly special honor, and God bless America.

Again we all appreciate your continued support of me and my teammates, and wish us luck in Sochi! Go Team USA!! Let the Games begin.