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Remembering September 2001

I drafted this last year, on the 15th anniversary of September 11, when the Chiefs were set to host the San Diego Chargers on the opening weekend of the NFL season. Today marks the 16th anniversary since the terror attacks in New York.

Fifteen years ago today, I was a 12-year-old eighth-grader at Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Academy in Floral Park, NY, where right before the final dismissal of school, we were told of the 9/11 attacks. Even though Floral Park is about 20 miles away from Manhattan, when you looked towards the city that day, you could see the billowing smoke.

Over those next days and weeks, as a city, as a country, we pulled together. First, we grieved together, and soon after, we began to cope with our new reality. Sports were part of the healing, and on September 23, 12 days after the attacks, the New York Giants took the field again—and it was against the Chiefs in Kansas City. The NFL commissioner at the time, Paul Tagliabue, delivered a pregame address to the Arrowhead crowd, and when the New York Giants ran onto the field, the Kansas Citians gave them a thunderous ovation.

“Somebody asked me when was the last time I was at an away game and had somebody cheer for me," Giants linebacker Mike Barrow said after the game. "Not since my Pop Warner days. What it showed is everything that happened didn't just affect New York. This is an American thing.”

During the game, Kansas City fans passed around a fireman's boot for donations, and that amount was matched by the Chiefs and the Hunt family. At the end of the day, a total donation of $451,413.88 was raised for relief efforts in New York City.

I don’t live in New York anymore, and I won’t be there today for this anniversary. Where I will be is Arrowhead Stadium, where this generous act of kindness took place so many years ago. New York will always be home to me, and that will never change, but this story always makes me so proud to call Kansas City my second home, and even more proud to be an American. Never forget.

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