Writer's note: This is in no way a direct article regarding our beloved Panthers. This is an article that talks about something more than just one team or one sport...but rather one moment in our history. A moment that has changed our country and perhaps the landscape of pro sports as we know it. This is my personal account. For those of you who do not know my history, I am a ten year veteran of the Air Force and served in Security Forces during that time.
September 11, 2001...a day which all Americans who are old enough to remember will never forget. Not only was the face of our nation forever scarred, it also changed the landscape of professional sports. After the attacks, everything we knew (and to an extent took for granted) was changed forever. Everything was put on hold and this included sporting events. My most vivid memory of what effect this day had on pro sports were the delay of the football season, the moments of silence at each venue (namely NY) and Jack Buck making his famous speech prior to the first game of the Cardinals game.
As for me, I was a young Airman stationed out west in Montana. Like the rest of the USAF, we were conducting exercises and what was suppose to be a twelve hour shift turned into sixteen. No one knew what was going on. Communication was landlocked and restricted. In a matter of minutes we had went from ThreatCon Normal to Delta. I knew of the attacks in NYC and DC. Additionally, I had heard about attacks on the Treasury and Capital building which turned out to be false. I spent my entire shift driving around our assigned sector not knowing what would happen next. It was a really bad time to be an American and nothing is worse in for someone in my position than not knowing what is going on. After my shift, I checked my voicemail and heard my mom's call trying to get in touch with me. My brother was in the Middle East at the time and she had not heard from him. In the end, I was able to let my mom know I was alright and my brother would eventually be in touch in the coming days. I worked twelve of the next fourteen days after the attacks on our country.
As for the sporting world, the changes were obvious. The baseball season was delayed and had a World Series played for the first time in November. The Super Bowl was played in February (and still is to this day). A greater sense of patriotism was in the air which remains to this day.
This week the NFL will open (or has opened) the first week of regular season play. Some players have opted to wear patriotic colors to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I think this is a good idea. Not only do we need to honor those who lost their lives that fateful day, but remember those who have fought for our freedom and avenged our country in the decade since. That last part is definitely not lost on me as I spent the last couple of years of my career providing escort to those fallen souls who died for our freedom. I plan on enjoying this week's games and I hope to see a victory with Carolina. It is my hope that everyone remembers the significance of 9/11/2011 and reflect on everything that has transpired since. God bless our country and all of us.