By Cassidy Koons
The St. Michael’s women’s soccer team played against Pace University in New York City on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. We had the honor to play in memory of those who were killed, and families who were impacted by the attacks.
Our hotel breakfast consisted of sharing stories about what we remembered learning in school, and the impact this important day has had on our lives. I shared a story I heard back in high school about a 9/11 hero who wore a red bandana and saved lives before falling to the towers. He was a new employee at the towers who guided people up and down the stairs, solely identified by his red bandana, after the first strike on the towers. The red bandana was recovered and is now displayed in the 9/11 museum for people to visit.
The TV channel was turned to the news, covering the first events and memorial events of 9/11 in New York City.
Upon our arrival to the field, the team silently walked down the hill. After our coach sat the team in a circle, we had a moment of silence to remember those we had lost. The stone bench we sat on circled the American flag, making for a powerful moment.
Katie Escobedo ‘23, a goalkeeper for the team, lives 30 minutes outside the city in Westchester, New York. Her dad was a firefighter who served as a secondary responder to the fallen towers, and also participated in search and rescue efforts for many weeks after 9/11.
“With gameday on 9/11, that was who I played for – all the innocent lives lost to terrorism worldwide and all the heroes who went to do their best,” Escobedo said. Throughout the entirety of the game, I could hear her voice booming from behind me and could tell that she brought her heart onto the field that day.
Katie Hansen ‘25, a defender for the team, is from New Jersey and her parents worked in the city on 9/11. They lost many people who were close to them.
“My family moved to the [New Jersey] shore after [9/11] to get away from the city,” she said.
Maggie Varley ‘23, a midfielder for the team, mentioned a quote impactful to her that has stuck with me since the game on Saturday: “No day will erase you from the memory of time.” She said that many of her classmates had lost parents in the towers, and she reminisced on the impact the city had on that fateful day. The strength and courage of the city is the reason we will never forget 9/11.
When we first entered the field, it was empty as the sun shined down on the turf. I felt truly alone, yet in the moment as the meaning of the day sat in the pit of my stomach. My heart started to race as the announcer’s voice boomed over the speaker and we walked out to the center of the field.
After the announcer introduced the starting lineup, we had a moment of silence before the national anthem for those who died in the towers. The Purple Knights came to play that day and won over Pace University. Every player who stepped foot on the pitch left their heart on the field and came out with a gritty 1-0 lead that would seal our victory.
As soon as I found out I was playing a game on 9/11, I thought it would be an inspiring story in our St. Michael’s community. Over the past few years, I feel as if 9/11 has been looked over in the schools I have attended based on the geography of where I live. I thought it would be important to reflect upon this day, especially since it was the 20th anniversary of a major turning point in American history.
Writing about this game and its significance to my team has shown me that you never truly know what someone else is going through. Many of my teammates were directly impacted by the fall of the twin towers and they hold that with them to this day. Because I live in Maine, I was never impacted by the event in the same way as those who live near New York City. 9/11 has shown me that no matter what you go through, you can come out stronger and braver than ever before.