NEW YORK (AP) -- Johnny Damon was trembling as he stepped to the podium. He tried to steady himself, take a deep breath, find some way to choke back the tears.
It was no use.
The Yankees outfielder was overwhelmed by his introduction Sunday night at the 85th annual New York baseball writers' dinner, where he was honored for his work with soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Wow. I'm not that emotional of a person," Damon said after a standing ovation. "But for the freedom that we have, we all should pay more attention to people who go out there and fight for it."
Damon received the Joan Payson Award for community service, named after the former New York Mets owner. In September 2006, he became a national spokesman for the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides various types of assistance to injured servicemen and women.
"This was something that really needed to be addressed," said Damon, whose father, Jimmy, was a career Army officer and served in Vietnam. "I'm going to keep spreading the word. We're going to make these guys come home and live normal lives and feel like they're a part of our country still."
What Johnny is doing for these troops is really a great thing, but this makes me wonder why he would be backing Rudy Giuliani for President? Giuliani is one of the Presidential candidates that would make sure we stay in this war for as long as possible; keeping our troops in harm’s way. Damon says, “We're going to make these guys come home,” well then stop backing Giuliani.
Politics aside, I’m proud that Damon is a Yankee, and helping our troops the way he is. More players should follow his lead. Whether you agree with the war or not, these troops deserve all of our support. We can’t allow ourselves to alienate yet another generation of veterans in the country.