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HOUSTON Hosting an event honoring servicemen and women has become an annual tradition for the Houston Texans.

Dozens of them attended Thursday outside Reliant Stadium after being invited through organizations like the USO, The Wounded Warrior Project and Lone Star Veteran Association.

The veterans enjoyed an award-winning barbecue lunch from the Battle Red Wagon Tailgating team, who served sausage, brisket and chicken donated by H-E-B.

Players wives worked the chow line, while team mascot Toro and cheerleaders worked the crowd. Texans owner Bob McNair praised the men and women in uniform.

You see about the house that got burned down or a party and people got shot and all this kind of stuff. All the negative stuff, so here we got a group of people that are really presenting a positive image to our community, McNair said.

After lunch the military men and women were treated to a sideline view of practice followed by a meet-and-greet with players and coaches.

Amazing, this is awesome. Like nothing we ve ever done before, one fan said after getting Texans defensive end J.J. Watt s autograph.

Sunday at the game against the Oakland Raiders at Reliant, many of the men and women in uniform will be in attendance and some will take part in a special halftime salute.

Also on Sunday, former Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush will lead the team out of the tunnel.

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