CNNSI.com asked several athletes, coaches and owners in various sports to share their recollections of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Jason Giambi, 1B, New York Yankees
My brother [Jeremy, now with the Phillies] and I were living together [in Oakland]. We actually got the phone call to turn on the TV from a cousin who lives in New York. We turned on the TV and it was just unbelievable.
The only way we were really touched directly was Frankie Menechino was born and raised in New York. Him going through the process of trying to get hold of his family and make sure they were all right Ö it was rough. But that's probably the closest we were. It took him all day to get hold of his family. I couldn't even imagine.
The first day we went to the playoffs after everything happened, a couple weeks later, we were in New York and we ended up going to a firehouse just to feel a part of it. To help some of the kids out. We felt like we wanted to be part of the healing process.
I don't know if it changed me. It just reiterated the phrase that you don't take anything for granted. I think a lot of people, you get yourself into a rut, into a nice little safe place. All the sudden, I think people woke up and realized we're not all that safe.
A lot of things have changed. There are new rules everywhere you go. It's a fact. I think the world, as we see it now, is gonna stay that way. It's going to be changed. I don't think we're ever going to let anything like that happen again.
Steve Mariucci, Head Coach, San Francisco 49ers
I was at home when the first plane hit and I got a phone call from my brother in law to turn on the television and I saw it in disbelief like every other American. It was early, real early. I was driving in listening to it on the radio, and the other plane hit as I was driving here. So when I got here, I turned on the TV and there it was. Every television set in America was on at that point, and it was just very much disbelief. It was just indescribable.
With all the difficulties our economy has had, and the world markets and all those things that are down right now -- what I think has happened, that incident in some way has united this country, strengthened this country. Because that affected every race, color and creed. Every nationality and every country in the world. That tragedy. And in some ways, it brought us all together.
Gary Sheffield, OF, Atlanta Braves
The first thing I saw was the building on fire in New York. I was thinking, if the building's on fire, they ought to put the fire out. I hadn't seen the plane. Then I heard that a plane had run into it, and I was thinking it was an accident at first. It's a big building. You could see how it could happen. Next thing you know, I see this other plane coming -- and boom! Then that's when the reality kicked in.
After the first one hit, everybody's just taking it in, speculating. You never expect someone to be that devious.
I just called my parents, my wife's side of the family, told them to stay away from the airports, stay at home. We didn't know what to do. So I just stayed around the house waiting on phone calls. Then you start hearing about things supposed to happen in L.A. My wife travels a lot because she's a singer. And I told her, she's not going anywhere.
There was no fear. Definitely not fear. The first thing that came to my mind was that there were innocent people that were gone. They didnít have anything to do what the governments were doing. They were just going about trying to make a living, and paying the price for what governments do.
It hasn't changed me personally. I knew that other countries felt this way about our country. A lot of times we take a lot of things for granted.
I just think that everyone is maybe closer to God. That's the only person you can depend on. If you don't have him, you don't have anyone.
I think people have gotten over it. We don't have closure. And if you don't have God, you don't ever have closure. The closer you get to him, you get your own closure.
Doug Flutie, QB, San Diego Chargers
That day we were actually filming a commercial in Los Angeles for the 10-10-220 for MCI, Terry Bradshaw and I. And I came down to the car in the morning, my agent and I, and she told me. And we listened on the radio. We were only a couple minutes from the site, and we spent the whole morning in one of the trailers, watching everything unfold on TV.
There's more of a sense of unity now -- the pride that everyone has in being an American and flying the flag. A sense of patriotism is so much more prevalent now. No question. And that's where it started. That's kind of what it has meant to me. Of course, the images from that day remain implanted in my mind. But it's more of what America's reaction to it that sticks with me.
Richard Childress, Team Owner, NASCAR
Richard Childress was on a grizzly bear hunting trip in a remote area of British Columbia when he heard of the Sept. 11 attacks. His party was due to fly out on a float plane early that morning, and the pilot had gone from the camp site to the plane to radio his base that he was about to leave. Instead, the pilot received some shocking news.
We just thought maybe a plane hit it. Then we all went down to the plane, and he was radioing back and forth to the base station, and they said that weíd been hit by terrorists, and I'll always remember where I was at and what I was doing on that day.
Instead of escaping the wilderness, Childress and his companions got an unexpected trip extension. They didnít make it out until Friday, Sept. 14, because even float planes were grounded by the FAA.
We kept hunting, praying, staying on the satellite phone to our families, talking to them. 'Cause you didnít know what was going to happen about your family or anything else. You didnít know what was next, 'cause we didnít know the whole story. Weíre sitting up there in the middle of the bush in British Columbia with a satellite phone and the radios and we couldnít fly anywhere.
I think weíve all learned anythingís possible today. We always think stuff happens around the world, but now we see it can happen to us as well.
Darin Erstad, OF, Anaheim Angels
People go through their everyday lives and you just kind of get into a groove and do your thing. And then something like that happens. I think it just makes you realize, it put things back in perspective about what's important and what's not. And you start to appreciate life and the things around you even more.
Has that situation changed me? No. Has it probably helped me appreciate things a little more? Definitely. It just kind of reevaluates your priorities and kinds of gets everything in line with how it should be.
Jeff Garcia, QB, San Francisco 49ers
I was home that morning and I just remember turning on my TV and all of a sudden seeing basically every channel showing the details of what had taken place. I really couldn't believe what was happening. I was in pretty much a state of shock like the rest of the country.
I think in a lot of our ways, it opened our eyes and made us realize what could happen to us in a matter of seconds. We always believed that we were invulnerable before that day. It was one of those days that will live with us for the rest of our lives, and hopefully we all take from it what we can and we move on as far as trying to better our lives and trying to live each day to the fullest.
Brian Giles, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
I was in Pittsburgh sleeping. I got up and came downstairs. Jeff Banister, our bullpen coach, was staying at my house with me. And he said, "Dude, you're not going to believe this."
They were showing the footage of it, then three minutes later, the other plane hit. It was a scary situation.
My mom called me within 10-15 minutes of me seeing that. She wanted to make sure my wife and me weren't traveling at the time. Just to make sure everything was OK. There were a lot of things happening.
The next one I talked to was my brother [Marcus, who plays for the Atlanta Braves]. They were in Atlanta. We werenít sure what was going on, and then it's a shock. It's basically an attack on our country.
I don't know if it's changed me. It obviously puts this game in perspective. Sometimes you lose the concept of that because you're playing every day. You forget about those things. But that put things in perspective, and put this game into perspective.
Junior Seau, LB, San Diego Chargers
Being a Tuesday morning, it was an off day. But I was in my daughter Sydney's room. And my kids thought it was just a movie. ... I saw that it was more than a movie and I ran downstairs and shut the TV down. And we served the kids breakfast, but we were shocked. I was so shocked that I had to go and lift. I had to get some anxiety out. Like everyone one else, we just wanted to hold onto the family and just say a couple of prayers. For the most part it's never going to leave us.
I am so glad and proud to be an American. It's as simple as that. We took it for granted. I know I did. And that will never happen again.
Michael Waltrip, Driver, NASCAR
I was riding my tractor at my house. It was very shocking. And itís just one of those moments in your life that youíll never forget. I think it certainly changed the way that Americans look at themselves, and also how vulnerable we are in this world today.
Pokey Reese, 2B, Pittsburgh Pirates
We were in Chicago [Reese was with the Cincinnati Reds at the time]. We stayed on Michigan, right next to this big building. I woke up and actually saw the second plane go into the building. First, I walked into Dmitri Young's room. His wife was there and said, "Did you see what happened?"
I just couldnít believe it. I never saw anything like it. I felt for those people.
This year we flew in over New York, over the site. It was unbelievable. How could someone want to do something like that? I just felt for the families.
It really changed me. I don't like to go anywhere, like I used to. I like to stay at home. Sometimes, I really feel like just having my kids with me at home. And my mother. I want to be around her. You don't know what's going to happen.
Rod Woodson, Safety, Oakland Raiders
I was at home in my living room in Pittsburgh, because I always went home on our Tuesday off day while I was playing in Baltimore. A lady that used to baby-sit our kids called and said, "Have you seen what's on TV?" I said, "No, we just got up." When I turned it on, one of the towers was on fire, and that's how it started for us.
A lot of crazy things go on in this world. So you just can't take life for granted the way we all tend to do at times. That was the ultimate wake-up call for everybody. When somebody leaves their home, you don't know if they're coming back or not. So you got to take that precious time and hug them, hug your kids, and tell them what they mean to you. Because that day taught us all that you don't know what might happen.
David Eckstein, SS, Anaheim Angels
It was unbelievable. A total shock. I immediately called my sister and talked to her about it. I don't think I left the house all day. Wait, I remember I drove to get something to eat, and it was one of the weirdest feelings you'll ever have. Nobody was on the streets. Especially, being in a place where I have no family whatsoever. It felt very lonely, it felt just Ö I didn't really want to believe it.
I think everybody has a better understanding [now] how great America is. And that we are one big family. This is us. Everybody has pulled together and I think we've become a much stronger nation. Two of my best friends are in the military. They both have been over and back to Afghanistan. It just brings it into more perspective.
There are so many things in life, even growing up in a family where you might have had some problems Ö no problems you have are really that important. Everything you can handle. It really puts things in perspective.
Marty Schottenheimer, Head Coach, San Diego Chargers
I was sitting in my office at Redskins Park, and someone indicated to me that an airplane had hit the World Trade Center. But at that point, nobody had any idea what was involved. That's when we put the television on and began to witness what took place. And, of course, there was information that started coming out that it involved terrorist activity.
Subsequently, of course, there was the plane that hit the Pentagon and the one that went down in Pennsylvania. Being that close to it, there were so many families that were affected because of those people in the Pentagon. My reaction was horror and disbelief. I wanted to know how and why?
Then we had occasion to go down to the Pentagon and spend time with the people who were working there, trying to bring some sense of stability to the situation. And then we went over to Arlington Cementary and had a service over there. It was horror and disbelief. Even to this day it's hard to imagine how something like that can happen.
I think there's this sense that you better take care of your own and you better enjoy each and every day. We live in a world that's filled with people who have no regard for life, and you just need to take your family and your friends and spend that time together and enjoy it.
Jack Roush, Team Owner, NASCAR
Team owner Jack Roush was in Reno, Nev., for a mid-week rendezvous with some pilot friends. His secretary called and said to turn on the television in his hotel. So Roush, who now wears a small U.S. flag pin on his signature straw hat, was watching live when the World Trade Centerís second tower collapsed.
And subsequently, every signature that I have signed, I have signed my name and I put USA under it.
There have been various elements of closure. But 365 days after the event wonít mean anything to me, and I suspect it wonít it mean anything to most of the rest of us. [Putting his hand over his face.] Itís still, itís right there.
Jason Marquis, P, Atlanta Braves
It was tough, especially with friends and family that work around the area. Just not knowing where they were at the time. And trying to get hold of them. It was tough.
I was just messing around on the computer and my fiancťe called me. I flipped the TV on, and you look, and I couldnít believe it. It was like a movie. Guys glued to the TV for three or four days. You don't think it's real until you actually get up.
Growing up there [on Staten Island], I was looking for familiar faces running around just to see their faces. It was tough not knowing what was going on.
To be able to pitch in that first game [in New York after the attacks, in Shea Stadium, on Sept. 21] was something very special. What a special part of my life. The ceremonies just made it even more touching. I was warming up in the bullpen, but I could see it in my head. It was very touching. Obviously, the outcome of the game was secondary. It was about us getting back to playing, and it was about New York. And New York was able to take 2-3 hours of tragedy off its mind. Obviously, they're never going to forget what happened. But hopefully we could let them take their minds off what happened and let them relax a little bit.
It's a rap on New York that we always get that tough-minded, cocky type of attitude. I think we're right back to where we were. Obviously, the buildings aren't there. But I think we've got that attitude that we're going to rebuild it, to get back the city that we know. Just go about our daily business.
I don't think it made us more wary, in the fact that we're worried that it's going to happen again. I think you got to realize what we have here. And respect it. I think it may have changed a lot of people's views. We got it great here. Some people never realized what we have.
[Marquis is tentatively scheduled to pitch this Sept. 11] I'm glad I'm going to get to pitch on that day. It's something that's very special to me. I had a friend of mine whom I played with in Little League, he was a firefighter [Mike Cammarata, who died in the World Trade Center], he gave his heart and soul to save those people.
You don't realize what you have until it's gone.
Dana Stubblefield, DL, San Francisco 49ers
I was at home watching the news, about to come into work. I just remember wanting to try to help in any way I could. I just wanted to do something, and there was nothing I could do.
A lot of the things that we do and we have as Americans we take for granted. And when something like that happens, it just puts everything into perspective. All the complaining and the bitching that a lot of people do, just think if that was one of your loved ones in those buildings or in those airplanes. That put a lot of things in perspective for me.