Following one of the most horrific and shocking events to ever hit American Soil, the pulse of the American Spirit could be found at Arrowhead Stadium.
The morning of September 11, 2001 changed our world forever. We were stunned. We were worried. We mourned. But we didn’t stand idle.
On the first Sunday of NFL football in the post-9/11 world, the Chiefs hosted the New York Giants. Inside Arrowhead Stadium, an overwhelming sense of patriotism reigned over everything else.
On this Sunday, the opponent was treated as if it were the home team. Chiefs fans gave Giants players a standing ovation during pre-game introductions and Arrowhead’s familiar “Home of the CHIEFS” was left off the end of the National Anthem.
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue delivered a pregame address and Chiefs fans passed around a fireman’s boot for donations, collecting what is believed to be the largest single-day outpouring of spontaneous support by a group of fans and a pro sports team.
In total, Chiefs fans donated $220,706.94 in cash and checks to relief efforts in New York City related to the tragic attacks on the World Trade Center.
“It was an emotional day,” Chiefs Head Coach Dick Vermeil said. “It was for me and I’m sure for a lot of guys. You had to feel it and be touched by it. I was and I’m pretty sure most of the people on the sideline and our fans were. It was a very sincere tribute by the National Football League and the kind of people who are in the league.”
For this Sunday’s home opener, on the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Chiefs have several special events planned to remember the courage and resilience that followed the events of September 11, 2001.
Prior to kickoff, the Chiefs will join the rest of the NFL for a special remembrance piece narrated by Academy Award winning actor Robert De Niro on Arrowhead Stadium’s big boards. The feature will be shown throughout stadiums across the NFL and will recognize those who lost their lives, honor the families who lost loved ones, and salute the American Spirit, the early responders on 9/11, and other heroes that contributed to the nation’s recovery.
Arrowhead Stadium will then take part in a national moment of silence along with all other NFL stadiums hosting noon kickoffs. Fans at Arrowhead Stadium will also witness a live performance of “Taps” played from the Flight 93 Crash Site Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Fans are encouraged to be in their seats 20 minutes prior to kickoff to participate in the pregame ceremony. CBS and FOX telecasts will take live look-ins at the synched pregame salutes from each NFL stadium hosting a noon kickoff.
Following the national display of unity, Kansas City area first responders will come together to hold field-length American flags for the playing of the National Anthem. Performing the Anthem will be Blue Springs native David Cook.
Cook’s performance will be followed by a loud, slow and low flyover from four A-10 Thunderbolt “tank busters.”
Later in the game, Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson will narrate a special remembrance video played throughout Arrowhead Stadium. The tribute will portray many of the ways the Kansas City region was impacted by and responded to the tragic events of 9/11.
Again, please join your fellow Chiefs fans inside Arrowhead Stadium 20 minutes prior to kickoff for this very special tribute.