It doesn’t seem feasible that a dozen years have passed since that tragic day, but it has. And as we remember those who lost their lives and honor their memory and their families, the start of the 2013 football season comes into perspective.
Listening to some of the current and former players on the Miami Dolphins recall what they were doing when the first of those two planes struck the World Trade Center is revealing. They were all in such different places in their lives, yet they were drawn together in patriotism. Former linebacker Jason Taylor, who was in his fifth season with the Dolphins at the time –
“That was a long time ago it seems and a lot of hits ago. It’s tough to recall all the things that happened that week. It obviously was a surreal week for a lot of people. We were the privileged ones and the lucky ones that got to play a game that weekend (12 days later on September 23rd versus Oakland) to kind of try to take the nation’s focus and attention off of what was going on. I don’t want to say we were forced to play. This is what we do. This is what we love to do. I think at that point in time what the country was going through it was very important that we did that and kind of provided an outlet for a few hours for people to get their minds off of the tragedy. It was obviously an honor to play, a very emotional week and an emotional game. We ended up winning at the end and Jay (Fiedler) ended up being on Sports Illustrated for that picture. It was a very...it was one of those things you never want to have to go through again and hopefully nobody will have to.” Cornerback Nolan Carroll, whose mother was a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy and whose father was a Senior Master Sergeant in the Air Force –
“I was in high school and it was my freshman year and people kept saying a plane flew into one of the towers in New York and I didn’t believe it. They turned on the TV and I remember seeing the second plane come in and thinking, ‘this doesn’t look real.’ Then I heard about the plane that struck the Pentagon and my aunt and my uncle were working in there at the time so I was kind of in shock. But they were fine. I guess they were on the opposite side of the Pentagon in the opposite wing, so that memory left me in shock. I found out after school and my mom told me they were safe. For me being young at the time I knew how important it was and how devastating it was to a lot of those people that it impacted. I just remember how everybody’s emotions were that day and my father was still in the military at the time so he had to leave for a couple of days to deal with new procedures and such. It doesn’t feel like it happened 12 years ago.” Punter Brandon Fields, who was a student at St. John’s High School in Toledo, Ohio –
“I was a senior when it happened and it’s a very sad and memorable time. It touched a lot of people and it changed our lives. I remember one of my classmates wasn’t in the class at the time. He came running in late because he had heard something and went and turned on the TV in the principal’s office to find out exactly what was going. So I remember the disbelief in everybody and then hearing it on the P.A. throughout the school. In college I had a few teammates that were from the area and had a relative or a family member that was a part of it but I didn’t.” Center Mike Pouncey, who grew up in Hilliard, Fla., not far from MacDill Air Force Base –
“I was in middle school and 9/11 was a tough day for this country. Our soldiers go out there and fight every day to protect us so that we can go out there and play the sport we love. It will be a day that we all remember.” Linebacker Jason Trusnik, who was a senior at Nordonia Hills High School in Macedonia, Ohio –
“I was sitting in photography class and heard about it first and then we turned the televisions on in one of the classrooms. I didn’t see the first plane hit but I saw the second one, so it’s tough. It’s been 12 years now but I know a lot of people are still going through a lot of things and dealing with a lot of memories and we’ve still got to console those who lost people in the attacks. I remember the return of football helping with the healing.”