ST. LOUIS -- Four years after his passing, Jack Buck's words and voice can still mesmerize an audience.
On Monday night, prior to St. Louis' game against Houston, the Cardinals held a ceremony commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Police, fire and military personnel were recognized, and an enormous American flag was unfurled on the field.
But just as was the case five years earlier, it was Buck's words that captured those in attendance in St. Louis. The Cardinals played a video of Buck's famous reading of his original poem "For America" as the centerpiece of the ceremonies. Buck read the poem at the old Busch Stadium on Sept. 17, 2001, prior to the first game back at the ballpark after the attacks.
"We're fortunate that we were here," said manager Tony La Russa, who helmed the Cards in 2001 as well. "Whoever heard his words, benefited. But seeing it and hearing it in person ..."
"It brought a lot of people together," said Cardinals outfielder Jim Edmonds. "And it's sad to say, but I think a lot of people have forgotten about it too quickly. Except everybody in New York -- I think New York really feels it."
"It did some good, for a while, for us to come back and play," he added. "And people like that, for Jack to take the spotlight and do what he did. It was a big rallying point, I think, for people in this country."
Opening the events on Monday were Jeff Suppan and his wife, Dana, contributing $10,000 to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. The fund is Suppan's charity of choice, aiding the families of those who lose their lives fighting in the United States military.
Representatives of the St. Louis Police and Fire Departments unveiled a large US flag on the field as the ceremonies proceeded, before the video was played on the screen in right-center field.
The club held a moment of remembrance before a local middle school band played "God Bless America" and a choir sang the national anthem.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.