College teams recognize 9/11 anniversary

A day before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, numerous schools held patriotic ceremonies as fans gathered in the tens of thousands to enjoy a busy college football Saturday.

Schools across the country, from Army to Washington, marked the anniversary.

The United States Military Academy paid tribute to the victims and heroes of the attacks during halftime of its game against San Diego State.

Army cadets passed out American flags to fans before the game, and first responders were among those honored during halftime on “Salute the Heroes Day” at Michie Stadium.

A large American flag also was unfurled as part of the tribute that included the West Point band, and fans stopped to sign a memorial banner that will be presented Sunday at ceremonies at ground zero. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani spoke during the ceremony.

At Washington, Huskies players wore special white helmets with the colors of the American flag within the “W” in their game against Hawaii.

The pregame featured a fly over from a C-17 from nearby Joint Base Lewis McChord, and Washington defensive lineman Sione Potoa’e led the team onto the field carrying an American flag.

The tributes held extra meaning for Washington coach Steve Sarkisian, who lost a cousin in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. He said the decision to wear the helmets went beyond recognizing family. It was also an opportunity to honor the victims and the families of the victims, and pay tribute to the military and first responders “for all that they do.”

In Ann Arbor, Mich., “God Bless America” was played as a scroll of Michigan graduates who lost their lives on 9/11 was shown on the video boards before the Notre Dame game. An image of the New York skyline with beams shooting out of where the World Trade Center stood was the background for the scroll. A crowd of 110,000-plus fans sang along with “God Bless America”.

Northwestern paid tribute to the 9/11 attacks by painting the big “N” at midfield and on its helmets red, white and blue instead of the usual purple-and-white color scheme. Flight crews from United and American airlines were on hand, as were members of the Evanston police and fire departments, and a large flag was unfurled on the field before a moment of silence.

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