When the New York Giants take the field on Sunday afternoon against the Denver Broncos, it will come one day after the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
For the people of New York and New Jersey, that’s a powerful anniversary. The memories and emotions of that day are as vivid now as they were two decades ago.
For that very reason, Giants head coach Joe Judge thought it was important that his players — some of them too young to remember that day — understand the significance of the anniversary, those attacks and what it means to the area they represent.
On Thursday, Judge invited several 9/11 first responders to address the team and help educate the players on exactly what life was like that day and how it still defines the area.
As the Giants prepare to play their home opener with the 20th anniversary of 9/11 as a backdrop, a group of first responders from that day addressed the team during a meeting on Thursday. Sure that was powerful for a group of players mostly too young to have memories of 9/11.
— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) September 11, 2021
Judge wanted Giants’ players to understand why this is such an emotional, unforgettable day in this country, particularly in the region they represent. A powerful message was delivered. That’s some added context on the talk that @DDuggan21 initially reported this AM #NeverForget
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) September 11, 2021
“I think that a lot of our players were very young when this happened and don’t really have a memory of it. They know about what happened, but they don’t have a distinct memory,” Judge told Giants.com earlier this week. “We’re going to take some time as a team, and we’re going to talk about 9/11 and educate them, so they understand on Sunday exactly what it was, exactly how it impacted not only our country, but specifically this area. This is obviously New York and it’s a little bit different here than anywhere else, and it should be that way.
“But to be on the field with the first responders and people who were in those towers, I think it’s going to be an emotional feel for everybody on both teams, I would imagine. To be in there with the skyline of New York overlooking the stadium and to have someone singing the anthem, you remember the date and you celebrate how everyone came together 20 years ago.”
The Giants will also be wearing FDNY, NYPD and PAPD hats on Sunday to honor those who risked and lost their lives on September 11 and in the days, months and years after.
The team will also wear special helmet decals, while coaches and staff wear lapel pins.
“We all will [wear the hats] as a team. I think it’s going to be emotional,” Judge said.
Prior to the game, there will be a moment of silence followed by what’s sure to be a stirring national anthem.