This is the 16th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11th, 2001. In honor of those who had their lives taken from them, and those who have since given their lives in the defense of freedom, we’re looking back at some of the iconic moments surrounding the tragedy. And this moment of healing still stands out.
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George W. Bush, looking for a moment to show the defiant American spirit, threw out the first pitch at game 3 of the World Series. The Yankees were facing the Diamondbacks.
The first two games had been played in Arizona. The Secret Service felt like the Arizona games would have been safer. Standing in front of a stadium full of people always poses a threat for a president.
But this was right after the attack. A month later. Flights had long since resumed, and many still felt like events like the World Series would be huge targets for terrorists, especially those who could hijack planes and crash them accurately, as had been demonstrated three times that September.
“I rejected that out of hand,” said Bush. Going to Arizona would have been fine in any other year. In 2001, though, New York needed a shot in the arm. Rescue workers had moved into the recovery phase in downtown Manhattan, and many of those dealing with the insurmountable task were exhausted, physically and mentally.
“I knew the symbolism and what it would mean for Americans when we felt so vulnerable and we were still afraid,” Former First Lady Laura Bush said of the appearance.
Yet she didn’t tell her husband not to do it. “That wasn’t her style,” Bush said.
Instead, Bush got the call and the old baseball-man stepped from the dugout and strode confidently to the mound. There was never a hitch in his stride. He threw out the pitch and the crowd erupted in a unified moment of defiant celebration.
Many look to this moment, this single pitch, as the sign by which New Yorkers knew that the worst was behind them and that life could be restored to normal.