KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It was an emotional tribute Saturday night at the Royals vs. Yankees game, as the crowd got to hear a recording of 14-year-old Reat Underwood singing the National Anthem.
He was one of three people killed in the Jewish Community Center shooting rampage in Overland Park two months ago.
The high school freshman dreamed of one day singing the Star Spangled Banner at a major league baseball game, his parents said.
“The hardest part for me is not getting to see him reach his full potential,” his father, Len Losen, said before the game.
It’s a tough journey that saw a silver lining when a recording of Reat singing the National Anthem echoed throughout the stadium.
“I know he’s not here physically, but he’s here with us in spirit,” his mother, Mindy Corporon, said. “I feel him quite a bit, so I think that’s why I feel so good right now and so emotional. I know he would be very excited.”
Reat’s little brother, 12-year-old Lukas Losen, agreed.
“It means a lot because he looked forward to this for so long,” Lukas said of his brother’s dream to sing at an MLB game. “He was a great a singer, so he deserves this.”
It was an emotional moment as the crowd and players also paused to honor the first responders and two other victims: Reat’s grandfather, William Corporon, and Terri LaManno.
“Today means the world to us,” said Alissa LaManno, Terri’s daughter, before the game. “We are so overwhelmed and so humbled by the Kansas City area.”
But it’s more than just remembrance; the families of the victims say they now want to use their tragic story about an act of hate to spread a message of tolerance and hope.
“We are trying to follow what we think God wants us to do and that is to share with people why we’re strong,” Mindy said. “And we’re strong because of our faith.”
Reat’s family has since launched the “Faith Always Wins” foundation and the Reat Griffin Underwood Memorial Fund, where they hope to raise money for things religious education, the performing arts and encouraging acts of kindness.