Byrd’s gridiron tradition keeps spirit of Memorial Day alive year-round

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VINTON, Va. (WFXR) — A gridiron tradition that started last season at William Byrd High School honors fallen service members, keeping the meaning of Memorial Day alive all year long.

During every game of the high school football season, the Terriers honor a serviceman or servicewoman who was killed while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. The tradition was started by head coach Brad Lutz over a decade ago when he coached at Broadway high school in Rockingham County.

“That tradition is teaching our kids what the word sacrifice really means and also allows us to tell a community what our priorities are,” Lutz said. “And that’s teaching young men how to be better people. And honoring great Americans in the process.”

And not only does it serve a purpose to his players, but it also honors the memory of Lutz’s close friend.

“One of the greatest teammates I ever had in high school was a soldier named Clarence Adams who was killed in 2004 and he was killed by an ID explosion and that really changed my life,” Lutz said. “And I made a promise to him and I made a promise to his family that as long as I was coaching football and as long as I was walking this earth that there would be people who knew his story.”

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