Thirty years ago, Richard Perez and his son went to see the Las Vegas 51s, formerly known as the Las Vegas Stars.
On Monday, Perez will return to the field to honor his son’s memory.
“We had fun together. We really did. The bond is unbreakable and to this day, I still say it’s unbreakable,” said Perez.
Everyday is Memorial Day for Richard Perez Junior’s family. Perez’ son, Richard Perez Jr., loved baseball. He also loved serving his country.
“He said he joined the Marine Corp to make a difference in the world, not to sit in Las Vegas and just hang out with friends,” Perez added.
Perez Jr. graduated from Coronado High School. He died in a truck accident in 2005 in Iraq and was supposed to return home in eight days.
“It changes your life a lot and one day I woke up and said ‘I’m either going to go down myself or go forward.’ Me and my wife talked. We’re going forward,” Perez said.
Perez will throw out the first pitch at the Las Vegas 51s game against the Tacoma Rainiers on Monday at 7 p.m.
“I feel like I’m doing it for all of them, from Korea, Vietnam, World War I, World War II, all the veterans that have passed away. I feel like this pitch is going to be for them.”
Perez will wear a jersey to the game with the number 21 on it. His son was born on September 21 and is still sad he’ll never forgetting the last words they shared before he deployed overseas.
“I grabbed his arm through a bar and I told him ‘Rich, no matter what happens, get back to me’ and he said I will. I believe he did. We’ve had something things occur that I believe he did,” Perez added.