I remember it vividly. I was in my sixth grade gym class when our gym teacher got a phone call. We were young, so hearing a phone ring in the middle of class was unusual and the class broke into laughter as we listened to the teachers ring tone go off.
He walked back into the gym after being on the phone for a little over a minute with a distraught look in his face. “A plane just crashed into one of the Twin Towers,” he said in his deep Yugoslavian accent.
It was Sept. 11th, 2001.
I was only ten years old at the time so I was not big on watching the news but I remember not being able to take my eyes off CNN that day as over and over they played the clip of the two planes crashing into the towers.
For weeks they had memorials, ceremonies, and moments of silence for those who had gone missing or been killed in the terrorist attack. But no ceremony sticks out more to me now than the one on Sept. 26th, 2001.
It was the first game the Yankees had at home since the attacks, so New York mayor, Rudy Guiliani joined members of the FDNY and NYPD on the field of Yankee Stadium for a pre-game ceremony. They were given a “boisterous ovation” as Sports Illustrated described it, from the 33,777 Yankee fans who gathered at Yankee Stadium that night.
I’m sure the millions watching at home were on their feet too.
They say sport has the power to bring people together in times of tragedy and that night was a prime example.
Where else could close to 35,000 New Yorkers get together in one place to cheer for the heroes of their city and watch a team that they all love dearly?
Eight years later on the anniversary of Sept. 11th, baseball fans have the opportunity to tune in and watch history in the making.
On Wednesday, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter tied Yankee legend Lou Gehrig’s hit record at 2,721, tying the two for most career hits as a New York Yankee.
So tonight as we remember the tragedy of eight years past, New Yorkers and baseball fans alike can also celebrate as we watch one of the best and classiest players of our time attempt to break an extremely meaningful record.
As Gehrig's famous saying goes, "today I consider myself the luckiest man in the world."
All of us watching tonight should consider ourselves lucky too.
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