Almost everyone can recall the events that happened 11 years ago today.
In hockey, no one was more affected by the Sept. 11 attack than the New York Rangers, who were set to kick off the 2001 season in weeks.
The terrorist attacks that killed several thousand civilians and first responders hit heavily throughout the entire country, but in New York, everything was taken, including a piece of mind.
For the first time in a very long time, sports didn’t matter.
It didn’t matter that the Rangers were supposed to be preparing for a hockey game down the road, and that they would be facing the Carolina Hurricanes to open the season in less than a month.
Instead, questions circulated about the safety of the United States, not only in sports, but in everyday life.
Shortly, but surely, life inched back towards normality.
Although none of the Rangers players that are currently playing were directly affected by the attacks — in fact, many of them were yet to play in the league in 2001 — they understand how important the day was to the city, fans, and citizens of America.
In recent years, the team has taken steps to reach out to many of those families affected. On last years anniversary — the ten year mark of the treacherous attacks — the entire Rangers team visited three firehouses in Manhattan, each of which responded to the attacks on that fateful morning.
In the events last year, the Rangers supported families of victims that were lost in the attacks at the World Trade Center, including wives, husbands, and children.
That day, the Rangers were donning their traditional home blue jerseys as their double-decker tour bus made its way to the three firehouses they were visiting, and eventually, a reception at Tower 7 that overlooks the Ground Zero site.
Every day during hockey season, the Rangers put those same uniforms on, and are recognized as heroes. But on that day, they were recognizing heroes — everyday people who risked their lives for other everyday people.
New York is a famous city. Its the home of famous people, and plays host on a daily basis to several famous sports teams.
Without a doubt, the New York Rangers are one of those teams.
But on that day 11 years ago, New York became known for something else. It became the home of a place that, usually separated in animosity, came together to help unite a country that desperately needed it.
For one day, at least, something is more important than sports. It’s more about the Rangers, and more about every other team that plays in that city.
It’s about being an American.
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