It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 10 years since the day America was changed forever. I still vividly remember sitting in my seventh-grade English class when the news of the attacks started circulating around my school. Watching the second plane hit the World Trade Center on TV sent a rush of emotions through me: I was sad, scared and mad, all at the same time.
The next day, all that was on TV at school was footage from the attacks and reactions from around the world. I broke down in tears in my science class as I watched not only adults but also children in the Middle East dancing in the streets to celebrate the death of nearly 3,000 of my fellow Americans.
Here I was, a confused 12-year-old kid. How could people hate my country so much that they wanted to kill thousands of innocent civilians — including, if given the chance, me? For weeks, I was legitimately scared that the same thing could happen in my town, and that my family and I would be next. But baseball soon eased my concerns.
Americans have always taken solace in baseball. The sport helped Americans survive the Great Depression by giving people something to cling to, something to believe in. It reminded Americans that America was going to keep moving forward, no matter what was thrown our way.
During World War II, President Roosevelt recognized baseball’s cultural significance and let it continue during the war. He understood that baseball was the medicine Americans needed in order to give them something — anything — to find peace in during the war.
In the weeks after 9/11, baseball is what made me realize that everything was going to be okay.
President Bush was on hand for Game 3 of the World Series that year, the first of the three games that would be played in New York. Bush took the mound to throw out the first pitch, with an FDNY jacket hiding his bulletproof vest. Chants of “USA! USA!” echoed through Yankee Stadium. President Bush fired a perfect strike to Yankees catcher Todd Greene. Chills ran through my body and tears rolled down my cheeks as the New York crowd continued to chant, and in that instant I knew that everything was going to be okay. Nothing, not even planes flying into our skyscrapers, could break the American spirit.
Jonathon Little is a senior at the University of Central Florida.