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Wayback Wednesday – The First Game After 9/11

Sep 11, 2013, 11:24 AM EDT

Flag, game program and ticket from September 22, 2001 football game against Michigan State.

A new Irish UNDerground feature revolves around the @NDSportsBlogger taking time away from his desk to go find an interesting artifact around the University of Notre Dame Athletic Department (or around his house in this case), enjoy…

Past “Wayback Wednesday’s” –
Notre Dame Football – “Under The Lights”
Coach Kline’s Hanna Batrite
Moose’s Congressional Photo
Coach Leahy’s Football
2008 Hawaii Bowl Trophy

In this edition of “Wayback Wednesday” we look at one of the more somber and sad moments in our nation’s history, September 11, 2001.

There are times in almost every generation in which people remember exactly where they were at the time they heard about a world event. If you ask my mom, she would say she remembered exactly where she was when President Kennedy was killed. If you asked my grandpa, he would tell you what he was doing when President Roosevelt proclaimed to the world that December 7th, 1941 was a “a date which will live in infamy,” when “the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”


In my generation, September 11, 2011, was a day I will never forget. I was in the eighth grade at Schmucker Middle School and was walking into Mr. Carnall’s band class during second period (I played percussion). As I walked in, he had the TV on and the newscast believed a bomb had gone off at the Pentagon … little did they know at the time.

On that fall day many families across the country lost a part of their family, whether it be a colleague, a friend, a parent or just an acquaintance, everyone was touched by that tragedy somehow. I was not touched on a personal level, but a security level.

Gone were the days of me going wherever I pleased at any time, gone were the days of handing over your ticket and walking into a Stadium, gone were the days of just feeling secure.

As many of you know, after the events of 9/11 almost everything was cancelled or postponed. All the professional sports teams, the Ryder Cup and college athletics were all postponed. This was no different at Notre Dame.

On September 15, 2001, the Irish were scheduled to play Purdue (this weekend’s opponent) at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. The game would be postponed and rescheduled to the end of the season, making the next time the Irish football team would take the field would be on September 22nd at Notre Dame Stadium against the Michigan State Spartans.

I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to go to the game with my best friend (who ended up graduating from Notre Dame). While on campus that

day, the atmosphere was different. The songs of Notre Dame still rung throughout the tailgating lots, but the mood was different, people were on edge.

Walking into the stadium was different with all the security changes, but it really didn’t hit you until you were going in your respective tunnel to your seats and they were handing you a newspaper printout of the U.S.A. flag that this was not just another game.


Front of the U.S.A. flag Notre Dame handed out


Back of U.S.A. flag that Notre Dame handed out

The back of the flag read:

To All Fans:

These flags are being provided for your use during today’s pre-game ceremonies that will honor all those affected by the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

Please hold your flag aloft and sing along while the Band of the Fighting Irish plays “America the Beautiful” and “The Star Spangled Banner.” NBC has chosen to televise this pre-game event and it is an opportunity to show the nation and the world that we stand united with the thousands of victims, their families and their loved ones.

Thank You

On that day, they asked that everyone hold up the flag during the “Star Spangled Banner” in a show of unity for those lost on that fateful day.

The 23rd-ranked Irish would lose to the Spartans 17-10 after a 47-yard touchdown pass from Michigan State’s Ryan Van Dyke to all-american wide receiver Charles Rogers in the fourth quarter.


I didn’t actually remember who won or lost that game, but the experience of being there and singing as loud as possible during the Star Spangled Banner will forever be with me.



Game program from September 22, 2001 game against Michigan State


Ticket to September 22, 2001 football game vs. Michigan State

If you can provide anymore information regarding this ‘Wayback Wednesday’ Artifact, please email Aaron Horvath at or on twitter at @NDSportsBlogger

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