Why Patriots players wore decals with initials on their helmets Sunday night

"We salute our military."

Patriots players wore decals with the initials of fallen soldiers on their helmets in Sunday's game.
Patriots players wore decals with the initials of fallen soldiers on their helmets in Sunday's game. –AP Photo/Elise Amendola

With Veterans Day occurring this past week, the Patriots found a way to honor those who have fallen in service of their country.

In their game Sunday night against the Ravens, each New England player wore decals on his helmet with the initials of someone who was killed in service.

“It’s important because it’s our way of showing thanks to all the men and women that go out there and risk their lives for our freedom, for our country,” Patriots safety Devin McCourty said in a video talking about their “Salute to Service Game.”

For long snapper Joe Cardona, this is special because he is also a Naval Lieutenant.

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“It’s a cause that’s close to my heart,” Cardona said. “I take a lot of pride in being able to represent my brothers and sisters in arms.”

Cardona is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and on Wednesday, he was named the Patriots’ nominee for the “Salute to Service Award” for the fifth straight season.

The Patriots also held a moment of silence for Army soldier and Arlington native Marwan S. Ghabour prior to Sunday’s game. Ghabour was one of five Americans killed in a helicopter crash in Egypt on Thursday.

“We know we wouldn’t be able to play this game without you guys serving,” Patriots captain Matthew Slater said in a video. “So we salute you, and we thank you.”

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