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Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on Veterans Day: ‘It’s an important day for our country and for all of us. Without it, there’s no football’

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New England Patriots Vs. New York Jets at MetLife Stadium Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has always had a special connection to the armed forces, given that his late father served in World War II and subsequently worked at the Naval Academy for three decades. It was therefore no surprise to see Belichick share a special message for Veterans Day to end his press conference on Wednesday.

“It’s a very important day for our country and the freedom of our country,” Belichick said. “Certainly a day that we want to recognize. Obviously a lot of veterans that are still living. Memorial Day is another important day of recognition. Those are the days that make all the other holidays possible: Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

“Almost everybody is connected one way or another, usually family or friends, classmates, and so forth. It’s an important day for our country and for all of us. Without it, there’s no football. We should all be very appreciative of what the people in the armed forces have done for us and continue to do for us. It’s a tough world out there

Belichick’s team has one active service member among its ranks: long snapper Joe Cardona spent his college career at the Naval Academy before joining the Patriots in 2015, and is currently also serving as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve. A two-time Super Bowl winner, Cardona won the Patriots’ Ron Burton Community Service Award in 2018.

“Especially the Navy, I’d throw that in there,” Belichick said on Wednesday. “Special appreciation for the service from the United States Navy. Special place for me.”