NFL fans belt out national anthem before Jets-Ravens game as 9/11 remembrances occur around the league

By | September 11, 2022

NFL fans at MetLife Stadium joined together to sing the national anthem on Sunday as the United States remembered those who were lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

NYPD officer Brianna Fernandez led the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in East Rutherford, New Jersey – only about 13 miles west of Ground Zero. Fernandez started the song and the rest of the fans took over.

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Fernandez’s late father, Luis, was a 23-year veteran of the NYPD and helped in the rescue and recovery efforts.

The broadcast then showed New York Jets coach Robert Saleh appeared to be a bit emotional as the anthem blared over the loudspeaker. Saleh’s oldest brother, David, narrowly escaped the south tower when hijackers crashed two planes into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

“There’s no doubt. It’s amplified because it is 9/11 in this city,” Saleh said earlier this week. “Not so much for me, but for the people who are in the thick of it. Obviously, I know it’s documented about my brother, but I heard stories this week about the cars being at (the Meadowlands) for months afterward because no one could pick them up. And then the Long Island train stations and the tragedies that led up to this.”

Saleh was 22 and working in Detroit’s financial district when the terrorist attack occurred. He and his family agonizingly waited for David to call to make sure they knew he was OK.

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“I think it’s very personal for a lot of people and I think that passion is felt country-wide, not just in New York,” Saleh added. “But it’s a little bit more important here and you know that (Sunday) means a lot more than just a football game to a lot of people in the stands.

“That’s why I think that’s what’s going to make Sunday pretty cool.”

New York was set to play the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1.

The Jets weren’t the only ones to recognize and remember the tragic day. NFL teams also posted tributes on social media.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.