Bill Belichick doesn’t get starstruck, except when it comes to meeting Norman Taché, a 102-year-old WWII veteran.
As part of the NFL’s Salute To Service campaign, the New England Patriots invited Taché to celebrate his 102nd birthday at Gillette Stadium as they faced the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football.
A lifelong Patriots fan, Taché spent time on the field prior to kickoff and met Belichick, who shook his hand and said “Congratulations. It’s an honor to meet you. Thank you for being here. 102. I love it.”
Taché told him he “went through a lot in the service, but it was worth it.”
In addition to meeting Belichick, Patriots owner Robert Kraft invited Taché to be the team’s honorary captain, which meant he took part in the coin toss and received the coin to commemorate the experience.
Here’s a look at his fun-filled day:
World War II veteran Norman Taché turned 102 years old on Sunday.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) November 6, 2018
Belichick is known for not saying much during press conference, but he’s made it well known how much he appreciates the U.S. military and their sacrifices.
“As they say, Veterans Day, Memorial Day — those are the holidays that make all of the other holidays possible,” Belichick said on a conference call. “Without the sacrifices that people have made ahead of us and the ones that are currently making them today for us, we wouldn’t even be playing these games or having any holidays or anything else. Certainly recognizing those men and women in our armed services and the sacrifices that they’ve made, we’ll do that. We always do it.
“The (NFL’s) Salute to Service (campaign) was a great thing last weekend, and then the actual Veterans Day holiday itself coming this weekend. We’ll certainly talk about that. We have a veteran on our team, which is pretty special, too. I think everybody appreciates the sacrifices that (long snapper Joe Cardona) has made and continues to make as part of the reserves. Many of us have family members that have served or are serving throughout the organization. It’s a very important day for me, for our team and really for our country.”