As college football programs across the country honored the lives lost and impacted by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the University of Michigan marching band embodied the phrase 'never forget' on the 20th anniversary.
The group performed a 10-minute halftime show called "We Remember," and each of the 400 members carried "some sort of light, including high-powered flashlights, glowing orbs, illuminated umbrellas," per an article on the school's website. Additionally, 275 individuals in the group played instruments, spun flags and twirled batons.
“We’re telling the story of the strength and resiliency of America—we are much more alike than we are different,” John Pasquale, director of the Michigan Marching Band said in an article on the school's website. “We as Americans are a strong people. And we are stronger when we’re unified.”
The music performed included:
- “Summon The Heroes,” John Williams
- “Mambo” (West Side Story), Leonard Bernstein
- New York Medley: “New York State of Mind,” Billy Joel; and “Empire State of Mind,” Angela Hunte, Alicia Keys, Alexander Shuckburgh, Bert Keyes, Janet Sewell-Ulepic, Shawn Carter and Sylvia Robinson
- “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story,” Lin-Manuel Miranda
- “This Land is Your Land/Stars and Stripes Forever,” Woody Guthrie, John Philip Sousa
Pasquale told the Associated Press that the “visually stunning show” had to receive clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration. Michigan was not the only marching band to honor the 20th anniversary. The Ohio State Marching Band also paid tribute with their "Heroes of 9/11" halftime show.
Many of the athletes and students of today's generation are too young to have memories of the fateful day in history, when four commercial planes were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists. Two hit the Twin Towers, another struck the Pentagon and the final one missed its intended target as passengers regained control of the aircraft, which crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
"It was our generation's Pearl Harbor," Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck said in a College GameDay interview. "A lot of these guys weren't even born. Some of them were one, some of them were two or three years old. I think it's our job as educators and teachers to make sure that they feel like they did live in that moment."
Some schools honored the lives physically on Saturday, like Notre Dame, whose players did 20 push-ups for the 20th anniversary. Others chose to commemorate the day with their uniforms, like the Gators with their red, white and blue-script logo. Boston College wore its Red Bandana uniform in honor of former lacrosse player Welles Crowther, and Air Force debuted their B-52-inspired uniforms against Navy, which included a camouflage paint job, patches and a plane silhouette on the pants.
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