I love Bruce Springsteen. From him being a native of my home state of New Jersey to his music and words, he has always been a source of sensibility in my life.
Therefore when he released his CD "The Rising" containing songs regarding the tragic events of 9/11, every word was a poignant reminder of that awful day. Springsteen was able to put into music what many of us all felt that day and every day since.
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I was in the Oakland Raiders' office extremely early getting ready to prepare for the upcoming game with the New York Jets. The mood around our office was upbeat coming off a huge win on the road against the archrival Kansas City Chiefs. When I left my office to go and get more coffee, I passed Bruce Allen's office and noticed a special report on CNN, which was always playing in the background on his television. Both Allen and I were too busy getting ready for our work day to really understand or comprehend the magnitude of what was being discussed on the television. But as each minute passed, football became less and less important.
|Paul Spinelli / Associated Press|
|When the NFL returned to action following a week off after 9/11, there was a massive outpouring of national pride.|
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From that point on, no work was getting done at the Raiders' offices on that day. Everyone huddled around, eyes glued to the screen learning more about the scope of this sinister plot. Everyone was frantically making phone calls to determine if their loved ones or friends were safe.
As the day unfolded, we learned more than 3,000 people were not safe -- from Ground Zero in New York City to the Pentagon in Washington D.C., to a rural field in Shanksville, Pa. By midday, it was more important to go hug your family members than to keep working on the game plan for the Jets.
Then-NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue made the decision to not play the next weekend's games, which was the right thing to do. Tagliabue's predecessor, Pete Rozelle, always regretted playing football on the weekend after President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963, realizing years later that America was thinking of our fallen president and not a football game. So, for the first time in my lifetime, the NFL did not play that Sunday and it felt right.
On Sunday, with the killing of Osama bin Laden, there was a sense of pride in our nation's ability to show its resolve and find the man responsible for this terrible act. Also, I was extremely proud of the celebrations that followed the news of his death on every college campus, especially at all the service academies and in the streets. They brought tears to my eyes.
I am sure today Springsteen is proud as well, as "The Rising" is now complete.
Follow Michael Lombardi on Twitter @michaelombardi.