By Kerrin Brinkman | July 13 2010 09:30

Last night's First Shot Ceremony officially kicked off the National Rifle and Pistol Matches at Camp Perry with many special guests, including some who arrived from the sky. Soldiers with the Ohio National Guard jumped from a Blackhawk helicopter to provide a dramatic opening for the ceremony and deliver the American flag. The colors were then brought to the flag pole by Lorain High School's JROTC Color Guard who help raise the flag as the Army Band played the National Anthem.

Many local and national special guests were in attendance, including NRA's Director of Competitive Shooting, Mike Krei, and NRA Board Members Dennis Willing and Tim Powell. Representatives from the Civilian Marksmanship Program and the Ohio National Guard were also in attendance, along with Ohio State Representatives, Senators, local law enforcement and government officials, as well as community leaders.

Major General Greg Wayt, Adjutant General of Ohio, made a special presentation in memory of Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha, who passed away this February. As a former Marine and an NRA Life Member, Murtha understood the importance of the shooting sports and the integral role that Camp Perry has served as a training and competitive shooting facility. According to Major General Wayt, Murtha was a champion for Camp Perry, helping to secure funding for facility improvements. A brick was placed in Shooters' Plaza to honor Murtha and thank him for his support of Camp Perry and the shooting sports.  

Tim Strickland, Governor of of Ohio, wrapped up the event by firing the ceremonial first shot of the National Matches. Enjoy the photo slideshow of the First Shot Ceremony – and stay tuned for more coverage from Camp Perry.

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