Game offers spirited tribute to Sept. 11
|Jamie L. Nix, director of the Michigan Marching
Band and the Donald R. Shepherd Assistant Professor in Conducting,
led the band as it prepared for last Saturday's home football
game. The band put on a lively half-time show to honor the victims
of Sept. 11 and celebrate the spirit of America. (Photo by Paul
Jaronski, U-M Photo Services).
Sept. 22, 2001, is a date most Michigan football fans never will
No Big Ten championship was on the line. No big records were set
that day. No special ESPN highlights were created. In fact, the
game proved to be a workmanlike, 38-21 victory over Western Michigan
University at Michigan Stadium.
But for the 109,837 in attendance that day, it was more about
life getting back to normal after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Michigan Stadium has never been so quiet as the moment of silence
prior to that game, never so patriotic or loud as during the singing
of the National Anthem and never so moved as during the halftime
performance by the Michigan Marching Band.
Now, nearly a year later, the band and athletic department last
week planned a slightly different approach to honoring the anniversary
of the attacks.
Personally, it is hard to believe a year has passed already,
says Bill Martin, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Intercollegiate
Athletics. I am sure everyone has stopped and reflected on
Sept. 11 and remembered that the world we live in has changed. The
playing of the National Anthem is a very big moment, and helps us
remember some of the challenges we face in the world today.
Approaching the one-year anniversary of Sept. 11, the Michigan
Marching Band once again was front and center in U-Ms game-day
tribute to the victims of Sept. 11. While last years sober
performance came during a time of intense national mourning, the
band worked last week to prepare an uplifting half-time show that
celebrates the spirit of America.
We didnt want it to be a somber show, but more of
an upbeat performance and a celebration of America, says Matt
Burrows, director of development and marketing for marching and
athletic bands. We do want to recognize what happened one
year ago, but we also want to show that (the United States) is still
The Michigan Marching Band will give an encore performance of
its special show Saturday when the Wolverines play at the University
of Notre Dame.
The highlight of the show comes when the 246 band members form
an outline of the continental United States. Three flag bearers
enter the outline carrying American flags and march to areas representing
the three sites directly affected by the events of Sept. 11: New
York City, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pa.
The bands set includes New York, New York and
finishes with a medley of American songs, including America
the Beautiful and The Star-Spangled Banner. During
the finale, the band presents its flag, which measures more than
60 feet in length.
The half-time performance was the centerpiece of a planned stadium-wide
tribute by several U-M departments. The color guard was being expanded
to conduct the traditional raising of the flag before a 20-second
moment of silence. As has been done in every U-M home game since
Sept. 11, both teams are brought onto the field for the playing
of the National Anthem.
Scoreboards at the north and south ends of the stadium were to
be programmed to highlight the Universitys events as it prepares
to honor Sept. 11. The U-M athletic media relations office has produced
a commemorative game program with a special coverthe flag
presentation from last years half-time showand pages
containing a list of campus events that will mark the anniversary
of the national tragedy.
In addition, American flags fly atop the perimeter of the stadium.
The Stars and Stripes replaced the normal Big Ten member flags after
Sept. 11 and have flown above the stadium during every home game
since the Sept. 22 contest. Martin says he will continue to fly
the flags the remainder of the season.