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Memorial Stadium is home to Huskers, heroes
LINCOLN This time and as always heroes came out as the
Tunnel March played at Memorial Stadium on Thursday night.
Only this time, it wasnt just our heroes. It was everybodys heroes in the
Firemen, military, emergency response and relief, and law enforcement were among those who
came out of the door that read 2001 Huskers before the game with Rice. The
Huskers and Rice had already been brought onto the field for the beginning of the
It was one of the greatest moments in sports, and surely the best in the storied, proud
history of Nebraskas Memorial Stadium, named in honor of those who gave their lives
for our freedom.
As the biggest flag ever to fly at a Nebraska sporting event towered from a crane near the
stadium lights at the 30-yard line, Husker fans took on a greater identity, one we always
have, but celebrate far too seldom Americans.
Tributes are a tough thing to do. They are overdone or underdone. They often simplify or
Not this time. The fans sang along to the first verse of God Bless America. The
firefighters, EMTs, police and military were among those honored presenting the flag
before the game, in addition to the tunnel march, which occurred minutes later after the
A tribute on the HuskerVision to America the Beautiful recounted the horrific
series of events last week, capped by President Bushs promise that America is far
too strong to let a group of cowards take away the life Americans have built for more than
There was a pause for a moment of silence for the victims, among them three native
Nebraskans still missing in the terrorist attacks. It was a place with nearly 78,000
people, and yet a pin dropping would have been heard far and wide.
And there was former coach and current Congressman Tom Osborne saying there is
absolutely no room for discrimination against people in this country because
of race, ethnicity or religious belief. Thats a good point, because men died in wars
to make sure we all have the freedom of expression, be it speech or religion.
We move on. Its what we do in America. We get stronger. We have the resolve and
faith to overcome anything. The greatest ovation on the animation at the start of the
Tunnel March was for the United We Stand on the Platte River Arch, and then
the American flag atop Memorial Stadium.
Our country and the world has been forever changed. September 11, 2001, will go down as
one of the darkest days in history. But there is more history to be made, both for those
accountable and for the world.
Part of that involves military action, along with our own domestic emergency response
teams, including the Red Cross and Salvation Army. And though football pales in comparison
to recent events, it is still a part of our history.
And as Old Glory stayed fully outstretched in a firm breeze to display all its honor and
pride, history was once again made at Memorial Stadium.
Because, as the tribute concluded, We are the Land of the Free, and the Home of the
Brave. Now, and Forever.
There are chapters in our history that are both ugly and painful. Yet, we live to write
another because we are Nebraskans. And because we are Americans. If there was a dry eye in
the stadium, it wasnt within view of me. There were tears of pain, and tears of
pride, as there have been from sea to shining sea these past nine days.
There is a spirit of courage and resolve that Americans all share. It emanates from our
leaders, be it President Bush, Governor Johanns or Representative Osborne. And it is this:
That we are the United States of America; and for that reason alone and all that it
stands for we will move forward, and we will prevail.