KANSAS CITY, Mo. - If anyone can appreciate their freedom on Memorial Day, it's Charlie Sibert. When he was serving in the Army during World War II, he was captured by the Germans and sent to a P.O.W. camp. He was 19.
"That was in Frankfurt, Germany," Sibert said. "They then put me in solitary confinement, and later pulled me out for questioning, then transferred me to Stalag 17 in Austria."
He was in captivity for two years.
Now in his late 80s, Sibert, of Belton, and fellow World War II veteran Bob Riley, 89, of Raytown, were honored by the Royals before the team's Memorial Day afternoon game with the St. Louis Cardinals. The two men took turns throwing out the first pitch.
"I hope I can throw the pitch," Riley quipped before taking the field at Kauffman Stadium. His overhand toss made it on one bounce to Royals' first baseman Eric Hosmer. Sibert's underhand throw made it on the fly to the glove third baseman Mike Moustakas.
Both men saluted as the Royals honored all veterans, past and present, before the game.
Riley served as a tank commander during the war and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He received the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his role in saving injured comrades while under enemy fire.