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In the presence of heroes, yesterday's and today's

The New Mexico State University football team squares off against Boston College during their annual military appreciation game, which honored current and past military veterans at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M., Nov. 9. The NMSU athletic director presented several awards to military members who attended the game. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya/Released)

The New Mexico State University football team squares off against Boston College during their annual military appreciation game, which honored current and past military veterans at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M., Nov. 9. The NMSU athletic director presented several awards to military members who attended the game. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya/Released)

The New Mexico State University football team squares off against Boston College during their annual military appreciation game, which honored current and past military veterans at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M., Nov. 9. The NMSU athletic director presented several awards to military members who attended the game. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya/Released)

The New Mexico State University football team squares off against Boston College during their annual military appreciation game, which honored current and past military veterans at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M., Nov. 9. The NMSU athletic director presented several awards to military members who attended the game. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya/Released)

The New Mexico State University football team squares off against Boston College during their annual military appreciation game, which honored current and past military veterans at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M., Nov. 9. The NMSU athletic director presented several awards to military members who attended the game. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya/Released)

The New Mexico State University football team squares off against Boston College during their annual military appreciation game, which honored current and past military veterans at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M., Nov. 9. The NMSU athletic director presented several awards to military members who attended the game. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya/Released)

The New Mexico State University football team squares off against Boston College during their annual military appreciation game, which honored current and past military veterans at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M., Nov. 9. The NMSU athletic director presented several awards to military members who attended the game. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya/Released)

The New Mexico State University football team squares off against Boston College during their annual military appreciation game, which honored current and past military veterans at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M., Nov. 9. The NMSU athletic director presented several awards to military members who attended the game. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya/Released)

The New Mexico State University football team squares off against Boston College during their annual military appreciation game, which honored current and past military veterans at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M., Nov. 9. The NMSU athletic director presented several awards to military members who attended the game. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya/Released)

The New Mexico State University football team squares off against Boston College during their annual military appreciation game, which honored current and past military veterans at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M., Nov. 9. The NMSU athletic director presented several awards to military members who attended the game. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya/Released)

The New Mexico State University football team squares off against Boston College during their annual military appreciation game, which honored current and past military veterans at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M., Nov. 9. The NMSU athletic director presented several awards to military members who attended the game. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya/Released)

The New Mexico State University football team squares off against Boston College during their annual military appreciation game, which honored current and past military veterans at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M., Nov. 9. The NMSU athletic director presented several awards to military members who attended the game. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya/Released)

New Mexico State University football fans celebrate an Aggie touchdown at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M., Nov. 9. NMSU hosted Boston College for their annual military appreciation game, which honored current and past military veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya/Released)

New Mexico State University football fans celebrate an Aggie touchdown at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M., Nov. 9. NMSU hosted Boston College for their annual military appreciation game, which honored current and past military veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya/Released)

The Pride of New Mexico Marching Band performs during the halftime show at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M., Nov. 9. NMSU hosted Boston College for their annual military appreciation game, which honored current and past military veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya/Released)

The Pride of New Mexico Marching Band performs during the halftime show at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M., Nov. 9. NMSU hosted Boston College for their annual military appreciation game, which honored current and past military veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya/Released)

A ROTC color guard, consisting of Army and Air Force members displays the United States and New Mexican flags during the opening ceremony at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M., Nov. 9. NMSU hosted Boston College for their annual military appreciation game, which honored current and past military veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya/Released)

A ROTC color guard, consisting of Army and Air Force members displays the United States and New Mexican flags during the opening ceremony at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M., Nov. 9. NMSU hosted Boston College for their annual military appreciation game, which honored current and past military veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya/Released)

Dr. McKinley Boston, New Mexico State University athletic director, presents a recognition plaque and football to Col. Andrew Croft, 49th Wing commander, at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M., Nov. 9. NMSU hosted Boston College for their annual military appreciation game, which honored current and past military veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya/Released)
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Dr. McKinley Boston, New Mexico State University athletic director, presents a recognition plaque and football to Col. Andrew Croft, 49th Wing commander, at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M., Nov. 9. NMSU hosted Boston College for their annual military appreciation game, which honored current and past military veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya/Released)

LAS CRUCES, N.M. --  Under a powder blue sky, resplendent with the smells of freshly cut grass and the dulcet tones of the New Mexico State University marching band playing the Armed Forces Medley, the atmosphere was one of excitement, and one of appreciation.

United States service members were the honored guests of New Mexico State University and its Aggie football team as they played host to the Boston College Eagles this past Saturday. As Leadership from Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range, as well as service members from all the surrounding installations were celebrated for their service to our country.

During halftime, Brig. Gen. Gwen Bingham, WSMR commanding general, and Col. Andrew Croft, 49th Wing commander, were presented autographed game footballs and commemorative plaques honoring their contributions.

"It was great to be here, they (NMSU) really support the veterans from all over services, and it's a great partnership between us and New Mexico State University and we really appreciate their support," says Col. Croft.

Also in attendance were legends of American history. Two of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, Dr. James B. Williams and James Clayton Flowers were honored at the game for their contributions to the military, to the country they served, and the change they inspired.

"I'm truly honored," said Brig. Gen. Bingham. "Humbled moreover and grateful for the opportunity to continually serve, but to be in the presence of history is just incredible."

The two legends were honored with a plaque during a timeout in play during the third quarter of the game.

A humble man to the very end, Flowers, a native of Las Cruces, wants to be recognized more for his contributions to society off of the battlefield.

"I would like better to be a hero for the labor organizing that I've done and for getting people together to make better salaries," said Flowers.

"But, he said with a chuckle, I'd rather be honored than dishonored."

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