By Capt. Ken Woods, Fort Benning Public Affairs /
On the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Atlanta Falcons opened their NFL season at the Georgia Dome against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a special pregame ceremony honoring those who lost their lives, the military members and first responders who rose up and the family members of the victims of the attacks who have endured.
Prior to the game, the Falcons gave commemorative game balls to those family members and made them honorary team captains who participated in the game opening coin toss. Following this, a short video played of President Barack Obama asking everyone to never forget Sept. 11.
After the video, the Falcons held a brief moment of silence before U.S. Army Sgt. Constance Mack, Georgia National Guard, sang the national anthem. While the national anthem echoed, 122 Soldiers from Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 54th Infantry Regiment, unfurled a supersized American flag that covered the expanse of the field. At the start of the game, the Falcons were led onto the field by Rangers from 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment carrying the American, Army, Georgia State and Falcons flags.
All members of the Falcons honored and thanked the Fort Benning Soldiers, and wide receivers Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu wore special ‘Never Forget’ cleats in honor of the 15th anniversary.
Maneuver Center of Excellence Commanding General Maj. Gen. Eric Wesley and Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Metheny received special thanks on behalf of Fort Benning and the MCoE from Atlanta Falcons owner and Chairman Arthur Blank and AMB Group CEO Steve Cannon. Cannon is a former Army Ranger and West Point graduate, class of 1986.
“We want to establish an authentic relationship with the Army, we want to give back and to honor the military,” said Cannon.
Events like this are an example of how the MCoE’s community engagement program is building partnerships that tell the Army’s story and create long lasting partnerships in our local communities.
For more photos, please visit www.fortbenningphotos.com.