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09/11/06 11:22 PM ET
Twins honor heroes on 9/11 anniversary
Players recall memories of tragic event
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- On the five-year anniversary of the tragedies that took place on Sept. 11, 2001, the theme throughout Major League Baseball was "We Shall Not Forget." For the few Twins players who were a part of the Major Leagues when the fateful day occurred, that couldn't be more true. Mike Redmond was playing for the Florida Marlins at the time, and he was at home when he heard the news. His team was scheduled to leave the next day for Montreal, but their trip was postponed until six days later. When the games resumed, each and every team observed a moment of silence. Standing on the field at Olympic Stadium to see the tribute, Redmond said it was a moment that struck a chord for him, showing just how much the game of baseball transcended into life. "It was really touching, as you kind of sat there and really took in what had happened and how much it meant to be an American citizen, to be a part of this country," Redmond said. "Seeing all of the fans and such, it really touched you and hit you hard. It's one of those things you'll never forget." Those same sentiments would be echoed once again on Monday, as the Twins hosted a "Remember the Heroes" ceremony in honor of the anniversary. From rolling out emergency vehicles on the field to listening to the bagpipes play and holding another long moment of silence in memory of the victims, the ceremony was a reminder that the events may seem long ago, but they are never far from the minds of many. There were a number of local first responders on hand at the event -- policemen, firefighters and emergency medical servicemen -- to celebrate what they have done for the community. One of those responders in attendance was Lakeville fire chief Scott Nelson. Nelson was invited to take part in a firefighter's memorial service at Madison Square Garden that took place 13 months after the horrific event, on Oct. 12, 2002. It was a time that reminded Nelson why he continued to fight so hard in his profession, and it renewed his faith in the strength of the human spirit. There is much that has changed since Sept. 11, in both the world and the game of baseball. But it's what hasn't changed that concerns Nelson and some of the others in his field. "There is a little bit of complacency and people forgetting, and we need to keep that in the forefront of our minds and spirits, because this is our modern-day Pearl Harbor," Nelson said. "It's a tough one, but we all have to come together." Baseball and American history have long been closely linked, and it's no surprise to Redmond and others that baseball is helping lead the way to remember the tragedy. "I think baseball does a good job of never letting people forget, through the seventh inning stretch," Redmond said. "From that day, 'God Bless America' has a different meaning for a lot of people, and I know at least for me, when I hear that song, I think about Sept. 11. You just can never forget that day."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.