Happy Memorial Day from Bear Goggles On.
I just wanted to relay a quick story about patriotism and the Chicago Bears. If you’re a regular reader of this site, you know that my friends and I go to a Bears road game each year; we’ve been doing so since the mid-90’s. 2001 was no different than the handful of years prior. When the schedule came out in April, my friends and I exchanged e-mails and phone calls to figure out where we would go. Atlanta. Atlanta on October 7, 2001 would be the site of the trip. The game tickets were purchased, airfare and hotel secured. We were ready to go. Then 9/11 happened.
I’ll fast forward through the 9/11 drama and how it brought us as a nation closer together in a way I had never experienced. The trip would go on, with a little more trepidation than in years prior. Air travel just wasn’t the same.
Most Bears fans will remember the 2001 season as the year the Bears surprised the league with a 13-3 record, scoring improbable win after improbable win. Mike Brown’s back to back walk off interception returns for touchdowns stand out in that season.
For me, what will stand out was the Bears’ 31-3 win in Atlanta that season. Michael Vick made his debut and Brian Urlacher returned a fumble about 90 yards for a touchdown. But here’s the incredible moment during that game. In the middle of that game, the public address announcer in Georgia Dome announced that the US had started bombing Afghanistan. In the middle of the game, the focus turned away from the gridiron as everyone, Bears fans and Falcon fans alike, started chanting U.S.A. U.S.A. It was incredible. And the next day I stood in the longest line at an airport I could ever imagine.
I know that wasn’t really a Memorial Day story, but it reminds me of the sense of pride that we all felt at that time and makes me remember the brave men and women who keep us free.