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Remembering 9/11: 10 Years Later

Baseball is just a game. It’s a game played by children the world over, and could be as simple as a kid throwing the ball up to himself, taking a swing, and chasing it wherever it goes. It’s a game.

After the events of September 11, 2001, baseball showed us how much more it can be. In the wake of the most tragic event in American history, and the first act of war on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor in 1941, the country was left in a state of shock, fear, and anger. None of us felt safe, particularly those in New York City and Washington D.C. Immediately following the announcement that the planes that had flown into the World Trade Center and Pentagon were, in fact, a terrorist act, every single person in this country wondered where the next attack would be. Were we in for days or weeks of further attacks? Would our largest cities be subject to bombs, or shootings, or, God forbid, more planes?

I was a junior in high school in 2001, and I remember vividly sitting in my math class as a buzz started to overtake the school. The first thing we heard was that there was a plane that had been flying mysteriously near the White House. Obviously, the facts were being misconstrued by the time they came down the pipeline, but we all knew something had happened. None of us understood the magnitude of the day, until we were released early from school to be with our families. As a Baltimore native, many of my friends had parents or family members who commuted to work in D.C. every day. Those kids had a different look about them as we boarded the buses to return home to the unknown.

I spent the rest of that day at home with my mom and brother watching unblinkingly as the events of the day unfolded. We watched the Twin Towers collapse, we watched in sadness as the tale of Flight 93 was relayed by the media, and as we sat, there was one resounding question going through my head: how would we ever return to the way things were?

As it turns out, baseball played a key role in answering that question. Six days after the attacks, baseball returned, and with it a sense of normalcy began to creep back into the lives of Americans. We had something to watch, and something to do, besides relive the events of 9-11 over and over again on the nightly news. We had the opportunity to step away from our anguish and do the simplest thing in the world: watch a baseball game.

Baseball has always had the ability to remain constant throughout some of the most tulmultuous times in our nation’s history. During World War II, and Vietnam, and more recently during the various military actions in the Middle East, baseball has been one of the few things we could count on year in and year out. Just as we knew that the tragic events of these wars and conflicts would be on the front page of our newspapers every morning, we knew that when we turned to the sports section, we would find the box scores from last night’s games.

Being in New York for this 10th anniversary of that infamous day in 2001 has been a blessing. As all of us in the United States have tried to do, the people of New York have worked each day to grow and adapt to a world where our country is not impervious to attack. It has been a process to be sure, but though we started out full of fear and anger, we have emerged striving to remember the events of 9-11 with remembrance and love.

Today, New Yorkers and Americans everywhere across the country should honor and remember those who fell on 9-11 and the loved ones they left behind. But as we honor and remember, we must do so with our heads held high and with smiles on our faces. We have come a long way, and if we choose to make September 11 a day when we realize just how much we can accomplish when we are galvanized as a country in the face of a tragedy, those who were lost will not have died in vain.

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you.”-Walt Whitman

Baseball is just a game. It’s a game played by children the world over, and could be as simple as a kid throwing the ball up to himself, taking a swing, and chasing it wherever it goes. It’s a game.

After the events of September 11, 2001, baseball showed us how much more it can be. In the wake of the most tragic event in American history, and the first act of war on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor in 1941, the country was left in a state of shock, fear, and anger. None of us felt safe, particularly those in New York City and Washington D.C. Immediately following the announcement that the planes that had flown into the World Trade Center and Pentagon were, in fact, a terrorist act, every single person in this country wondered where the next attack would be. Were we in for days or weeks of further attacks? Would our largest cities be subject to bombs, or shootings, or, God forbid, more planes?

I was a junior in high school in 2001, and I remember vividly sitting in my math class as a buzz started to overtake the school. The first thing we heard was that there was a plane that had been flying mysteriously near the White House. Obviously, the facts were being misconstrued by the time they came down the pipeline, but we all knew something had happened. None of us understood the magnitude of the day, until we were released early from school to be with our families. As a Baltimore native, many of my friends had parents or family members who commuted to work in D.C. every day. Those kids had a different look about them as we boarded the buses to return home to the unknown.

I spent the rest of that day at home with my mom and brother watching unblinkingly as the events of the day unfolded. We watched the Twin Towers collapse, we watched in sadness as the tale of Flight 93 was relayed by the media, and as we sat, there was one resounding question going through my head: how would we ever return to the way things were?

As it turns out, baseball played a key role in answering that question. Six days after the attacks, baseball returned, and with it a sense of normalcy began to creep back into the lives of Americans. We had something to watch, and something to do, besides relive the events of 9-11 over and over again on the nightly news. We had the opportunity to step away from our anguish and do the simplest thing in the world: watch a baseball game.

Baseball has always had the ability to remain constant throughout some of the most tulmultuous times in our nation’s history. During World War II, and Vietnam, and more recently during the various military actions in the Middle East, baseball has been one of the few things we could count on year in and year out. Just as we knew that the tragic events of these wars and conflicts would be on the front page of our newspapers every morning, we knew that when we turned to the sports section, we would find the box scores from last night’s games.

Being in New York for this 10th anniversary of that infamous day in 2001 has been a blessing. As all of us in the United States have tried to do, the people of New York have worked each day to grow and adapt to a world where our country is not impervious to attack. It has been a process to be sure, but though we started out full of fear and anger, we have emerged striving to remember the events of 9-11 with remembrance and love.

Today, New Yorkers and Americans everywhere across the country should honor and remember those who fell on 9-11 and the loved ones they left behind. But as we honor and remember, we must do so with our heads held high and with smiles on our faces. We have come a long way, and if we choose to make September 11 a day when we realize just how much we can accomplish when we are galvanized as a country in the face of a tragedy, those who were lost will not have died in vain.

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you.”-Walt Whitman