Those old enough to remember the events of September 11, 2001 can likely tell you exactly where they were when they received the news of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington DC, and the courageous events of Flight 93. It’s one of those life events that will remain with you for your entire life.
In the aftermath of the tragedy baseball took a one-week hiatus where no games were played. That sounds rather trivial considering the number of people who lost their lives and there was talk at the time that baseball would not resume.
Clearer heads prevailed and it was decided that a week later the season would resume. The decision was one that weighed all sides. Baseball wanted to be cognizant of the loss of life and not trivialize the losses. It was ultimately decided that baseball returning would act as an outlet to help people cope with the world changing around them.
After that morning our world seemed to be crumbling around us. We looked at everyone around us wondering if they were a terrorist and whether there was anywhere safe. Paranoia and fear where everywhere. But on the baseball diamond we had an opportunity to lose ourselves and remember times when the only thing we worried about was our favorite player’s batting average or how many games behind our team was in the standings. We needed that.
Now here we are ten years later and things have never returned to the way they were before September 11, 2001. That’s probably a good thing. We need to know that the world is not entirely made up of people who do not want to harm us. We need to be more aware of the danger of the world without changing our lives completely and living in fear.
Today baseball once again took a leading role in helping us to remember the events from ten years ago without having to relive all of the tragedy and pain that day brought. At Chase Field the Diamondbacks planned a tribute to the people who lost their lives that day and also the first responders who were there for us in the aftermath helping to pick up the pieces.
The pre-game ceremony was emotional and touching. The team recognized the various branches of the military and first-response units that keep us safe every day. The large crowd erupted in cheers as each one was introduced showing their gratitude for all that they do.
Perhaps the most touching point came during the National Anthem. Arizona Senator John McCain delivered a baseball to the pitcher’s mound. Rather than a ceremonial first pitch the ball was placed on the mound in tribute for all those who lost their lives protecting us.
He stood there behind the mound with Diamondbacks starting pitcher Josh Collmenter as the American Flag was displayed and they sang the National Anthem. Looking around there were tears in the eyes of several fans and you could feel the lump in your throat as you thought about all that occurred not just on September 11, 2001 but in the time since then as we cope with the fact that our lives have been forever changed. It is just up to us to make sure that those changes are for the better and that we not let the tragedy dissuade us from living.