Today In History…I Wish…

A lot of folks are reminiscing today about where they were, what they were doing, etc., when they heard the news on September 11th. I remember it well…I was at Great Lakes Recruit Training Center. My whole boot camp company consisted of young men from the Cincinnati area – it was a special thing the Naval Recruiting Command did with the Cincinnati Reds…we had all been sworn in just a month earlier, before a ball game, in left field, at Riverfront Stadium. So, when Pete Rose got his 4,192nd career hit on September 11, 1985, Chief Floyd came in to let us know about it, even though he was thoroughly disgusted with our worthlessness, which he also reminded us of (quite colorfully, as was his custom.)

Of course, most people aren’t thinking about that today. I’ll never forget arriving at work on the morning of September 11, 2001.  Dan was looking at grainy internet pictures of a smoky hole in the side of WTC Tower 1, and Tom turned on the radio that he kept in our office, just in time to get the report of the plane hitting Tower 2. But sometimes, I wish that date was all about the Coronation of The Hit King. I want to think that would be the case, even if I wasn’t a life-long Reds fan who grew up in the Big Red Machine era, when Pete accumulated most of those hits.

It got me thinking: I wonder if, in 1941, anyone lamented the fact that American History buffs would forget that December 7th was the date that the Marquis de Lafayette joined the Continental Army (1776), or that it was the day that Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution (1787)? Or that aficionados of the “Old West” wouldn’t remember that Jesse James robbed his first bank on that date (1869)?  I kind of hope so.

Today is certainly, absolutely, without a doubt, the time to honor the memories of the innocent people who were murdered in a grotesque act of evil. The first responders who sacrificed their lives to rescue others that day must never be forgotten. Our collective resolve in the following days was a crowning achievement in the history of nations. Today is aptly named Patriot Day, and I’m a little more cognizant of how proud I am to be an American right now.

But I still wish it just made me think about baseball.

Russ Bowman
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