BURLINGTON, N.C. -- Before the Carolina Panthers took on their NFC rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, the Burlington Fire Department (BFD) Honor Guard members, with two alternates standing by, marched to the center of the field at Bank of America Stadium to present the colors.

A crowd of 75,525 watched as the BFD Honor Guard presented the American flag, along with the state flags of North and South Carolina, the city of Burlington said in a news release.

The Honor Guard was established in 1988 and typically assists with funeral processions, award ceremonies, and other local flag ceremonies. Honor Guard Captain Paul Watlington reached out to the Carolina Panthers in January on their website through an application process. Much to his surprise and delight, the BFD Honor Guard was selected to present the colors at one of eight regular season home games this year.

Of the prestigious honor, Captain Watlington said,

“We are honored to have been selected to present the colors of our great state and nation in Charlotte at this week’s Panther’s game. We are proud to represent Burlington in this manner in front of such a large audience.”

BFD Honor Guard members on the field are:

Captain Lawrence Alvis

Lieutenant Chad Fleming

Captain Neal Stanfield

Lieutenant Chuck Loy

Captain Joe Loy

Captain Paul Watlington

Members on the sidelines are:

Captain Tony Mann

Battalion Chief Anthony Davis

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The City of Burlington tweeted out a picture of the Honor Guard getting ready for Sunday’s game along with the hashtag #KeepPounding

The Carolina Panthers will face off against the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons.

Atlanta leads the all-time series with Carolina, 27-17. The Falcons have won the last three games after Carolina won five of six before that. The Panthers are 11-11 at home all-time against Atlanta, with one home game at

Clemson in 1995. The Falcons won last season’s Christmas Eve game at Carolina, 33-16. Just remember #PanthersOn2

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