For anyone born after the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated, September 11, 2001 stands out as the foremost day of shock, sadness and the changing of a nation. Everyone alive on that day can tell you where they were when they heard the news of what happened in New York City on that day.
Tonight, the United States will play a match on September 11 for the first time since the attacks on the Twin Towers.
The U.S. team represents the country that was attacked 11 years ago. They wear the country's colors and in the world's biggest sport, on the biggest stages in the sport and are the ones who stand with their hands over their hearts as the national anthem is played and the flag is presented.
Tonight they will do that, but it will be different than any other day. Such is the nature of this day.
"It’s something that is special because it showed that our country had a lot of character and was able to bounce back from that type of situation," Dempsey told Yahoo. "I think people draw strength on that and us as players, and us as a country, we always remember that. It’s impacted everyone’s life and everybody remembers where they were on that day."
I was in seventh grade and sitting on my couch. For some reason I woke up early that day and was watching TV when they broke in with news that the first plane hit. I kept telling myself that it was an accident. A terrible accident undoubtedly, but an accident nonetheless.
I was watching live as the second plane hit. I still did my best to convince myself that it was another accident.
Eventually, reality set in and the gravity of that morning set in. Even as a 12-year-old kid, it was painfully clear that September 11 was a day that nobody would ever forget.
Tonight when the U.S. takes to the field, lines up and stands at attention during the national anthem, most everyone will flash back to where they were 11 years ago. I will go back to being a 12-year-old and you will go back to wherever you were. Eventually the match will kick off, the fans will cheer and 24,000 people will chant U-S-A. It will be the first time that has happened at a U.S. soccer match since September 11, 2001 and it will feel a little bit different. Not better or worse, just different.