Fans remember terrorist attacks

An American flag is unfurled in the outfield at PNC Park, Monday, prior to a baseball game between the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates. A pregame ceremony was held to honor those killed on Sept. 11, 2001, in Shankesville, Pa., aboard Flight 93, a The Associated Press

By The Associated Press

With flags, flyovers and moments of silence, baseball and football stadiums across the country Monday night were set to mark the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

Nine games were on the baseball schedule, including the New York Mets at Miami. The NFL featured two games – Minnesota at Washington and San Diego at Oakland.

“Major League Baseball joins all of America today to remember and reflect upon the horrific events that took place five years ago,” commissioner Bud Selig said. “We share deep and profound sorrow with those who lost loved ones on that terrible day.”

More than 90,000 American flags were to be distributed to fans at the Vikings-Redskins game in Landover, Md., about 12 miles from the site where an American Airlines plane crashed into the Pentagon, killing 184 people.

Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was to serve as honorary observer for the pregame coin toss, the team said. The Joint Military Chorus was to sing the national anthem, followed by a flyover by Army Apache helicopters.

In the second game of a rare Monday night NFL doubleheader, four F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 144th Fighter Wing of the California Air National Guard were to perform a fly-by maneuver in Oakland.

In baseball, Mets and Marlins players were to wear seven different caps, honoring the first responders and others who worked the rescue effort at the World Trade Center. There was to be a moment of silence at 9:11 p.m.

“We remember with great fondness and admiration the heroic efforts of those – the firefighters, the policemen and women, and the health care workers – who risked their lives to help and save those who were in harm’s way,” Selig said. “It is not a day none of us will ever forget, nor should we.”

The hats represented the New York police and fire departments, Port Authority Police, Office of Emergency Management, New York Court Officers and Emergency Medical Service paramedic and technician divisions.

“Just hearing you talk about 9/11 again sort of gave me chills,” Marlins first baseman Mike Jacobs said. “I still remember when it happened and where I was at. My mom came running in the room, told me to turn on the TV. That aside, it’s still special to play baseball on a day like this.”

At Pittsburgh, more than 50 United Flight 93 family members were to attend the Pirates’ game. Also planned was a video tribute to the passengers and crew members who thwarted a possible attack on the nation’s capital by causing the plane to crash in a field in Shanksville, east of Pittsburgh.

A 60-foot by 90-foot American flag was to be unfurled by members of the United States Armed Forces. The flag was sewn by high school students in Palatine, Ill., following the attacks and given to the Flight 93 National Memorial. The flag was made from 165 red, white and blue bed sheets.

“It is important that we remember and pay tribute to all those who lost their lives that tragic day,” Pirates chief executive Kevin McClatchy said. “The people aboard Flight 93 were true heroes. They gave their lives, so that others would not be taken.”

Before the New York Yankees played at Baltimore, retired New York City firefighter Bill Spade was to be honored. He was the only firefighter from Rescue Company 5 to survive.

Other pregame ceremonies honoring the heroes will be held before and during games in Anaheim, Minneapolis, Seattle, Atlanta, St. Louis and Arizona.

At Minneapolis, players and coaches were to wear Sept. 11 ribbons on their caps.

In Atlanta, Braves’ players were to sign autographs for a minimum $5 donation to go to the World Trade Center Memorial Fund.