There was an event ten years ago that shook the United States of America to its foundation. A day that saw the mightiest of nations fall to its knees. On Tuesday September 11th 2001, terrorists flew airplanes into the World Trade Center, Pentagon and crashed in Shanksville PA. It’s a day I am sure that everyone remembers vividly.
My personal memory of it? I remember that day, as I was in sixth grade Social Studies or English at the time and I remember hearing the principal come over the P/A system and announce what had happened. At the time, my classmates/ friends and I had no idea what any of this meant. We had no idea of the severity of event, we just thought it was an accident.
For me, the image that was burned into my mind was that of my teacher crying while watching TV coverage during class. It was at that point that we realized that what had taken place was no accident; that someone had flown into those buildings on purpose.
I can remember my friends getting picked up from school early, because their parents were worried that something might happen to the school. I remember watching the TV coverage in my Technology class and I was amazed at how someone or some people could do such things. I even remember getting off the school bus that day, walking to my house, thinking, “Rats! There’s not going to be any baseball on tonight! I’m angry! Someone took that away from me!” At 10 years old, I wasn’t smart enough or as developed emotionally or to recognize how significant of an event it truly was.
Now, I am a true believer that sports, while they are a distraction from our everyday lives, can bring people to together and UNITE everyone as one.
I believe that sports have the power to heal: I am a prime example of that, but that is a story for another day. One of more poignant memories of the Phillies I have is when Harry Kalas read a speech before the first game back on September 17th 2001. I look back it and it amazes me to see how powerful sports can be as a healer.
HK read his speech:
From the Cradle of Liberty, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, do we have closure? No, the heinous acts of terrorism last Tuesday shall be with us for as long as we shall live. We have earned a greater respect and love for the men and women of our fire departments, police departments, our emergency rescue squads. We are all Americans and we are proud to be Americans. We must never resort to the thinking that created Tuesday’s acts of terrorism. They were born of hatred. We as individuals, we as a nation, must never hate. More than ever before, we must stand together and live by His words: ‘Love one another.” Here at Veterans Stadium, we see various displays of Nationalism and Patriotism and let us always remember, that above all else love one another, love thy brother. Yes, baseball will go on, it won’t be the same. It’ll be a long time before it’s the same. But sports has always been a diversion from our everyday problems and in this case, from a national tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers and our hearts go out to the families, friends of the victims of the tragedy of Tuesday September 11th 2001. And now the Color Guard is now coming on the field. We see waves of people here at Veterans Stadium, standing UNITED regardless of race, color, religion, or creed. We are all together as members of the United States of America. We are proud to be Americans and baseball is our national pastime. We are proud to be small pieces of our national pastime and we want to see it continue. You can hear in the background chants of ‘U.S.A.!’ Yes, perhaps America will become more united than ever before and probably now, we won’t need it now more than anytime I can probably recall.
If you watch the little two and half-minute clip, you can hear HK get choked up as the Color Guard starts marching to the pitcher’s mound at the Vet. You can see the outward displays of Nationalism and Patriotism. You can hear the chants of “U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A!”. That to me will forever be etched into my mind as one of the times when as nation even if it was only 30,000+ people in a baseball stadium, were united as one.
Finally, as a nation, no matter how horrific the tragedy, have always been united by one thing: SPORTS.