SportsNation salutes veterans with Academy visit

Charissa Thompson speaks with Mountain West Conference reporters during the lead-in to ESPN's SportsNation broadcast at the Air Force Academy Nov. 8, 2012. Thompson and Colin Cowherd host the show, which broadcast a special Veterans Day tribute Nov. 8. SportsNation broadcasts weekdays at 4 p.m. Mountain Time on ESPN2. (U.S. Air Force photo/Don Branum)

Charissa Thompson speaks with Mountain West Conference reporters during the lead-in to ESPN's SportsNation broadcast at the Air Force Academy Nov. 8, 2012. Thompson and Marcellus Wiley host the show, which broadcast a special Veterans Day tribute Nov. 8. SportsNation broadcasts weekdays at 4 p.m. Mountain Time on ESPN2. (U.S. Air Force photo/Don Branum)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- ESPN's Charissa Thompson took the SportsNation TV show to the Air Force Academy Nov. 8 to broadcast a salute to veterans.

The Veterans Day special is SportsNation's third in as many years, with previous years featuring visits to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and Fort Myer, in Arlington, Va.

"I have such appreciation and respect for what it is they do, day in and day out," said Thompson, whose sister serves in the U.S. Coast Guard. "We'll never begin to know or understand what they've gone through, but all we can do is continue to lend our support and admiration for their selflessness."

Thompson began her TV career in Colorado, covering the Colorado Rockies for Fox Sports Network Rocky Mountain. She also worked for Versus TV before joining ESPN last year. She said it's important to thank veterans for their service year-round but especially near Veterans Day.

"It's important, especially around this time of year, to get out and take the show on the road," she said.

She praised the reception she received from cadets when she arrived Nov. 7.

"They've just been unbelievable," she said. "I had the privilege to go up in a TG-16 (glider), which not a whole lot of people get to do. I had a fantastic cadet take me up, do different (maneuvers) that I would never, ever in my life be able to do if I wasn't at the Air Force Academy."

Several cadets took an opportunity before the broadcast to get photos with Thompson. Cadet 2nd Class Steven Nelson, who is assigned to Cadet Squadron 40, said it meant a lot to have SportsNation do a show here.

"We know our school's prestigious, and it's nice to get some recognition nationwide," he said. "Everyone knows SportsNation. It boosts our morale for them to come out here; it's exciting to be on national TV."

Cadet 2nd Class Colin McConville, with CS 24, agreed with Nelson's prediction of improved morale.

"It's a really positive effort," said McConville, whose father, cousin and brother are Army veterans. "For SportsNation to come out here means a lot to us."