ST. LOUIS -- Fredi Gonzalez will never forget the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001.
He will also never forget the moving speech made by Cardinals broadcaster Jack Buck, welcoming the nation back to the game six days later.
The Braves manager was so moved by those touching words that he made a copy of the speech off the Internet and carried it around with him for several months, hoping to run into Buck and have the Hall of Famer autograph the gem.
Gonzalez never got the signature. Buck passed away from a combination of lung cancer and Parkinson's Disease on June 18, 2002.
But Gonzalez still has the memory of those immortal words.
"It was touching and it meant so much," Gonzalez said. "He said what we were all feeling at the time."
Buck, in failing health, stood before a crowd at Busch Stadium prior to the return game and told everyone that it was all right to move forward with the baseball season. He said that it would constitute giving in to the terrorists if the season were to be canceled.
"I don't know about you," Buck said. "But as for me, the question has already been answered.
"Should we be here? Yes!"
Those words still ring true today.
"I think it's great that the country and baseball still remember what he said," said Gonzalez, who was the Marlins' third-base coach at the time of the attacks.
The 47-year-old skipper was happy that St. Louis management played the tape of Buck's speech on the scoreboard minutes before Sunday's contest.
"There were a lot of [players] whose season ended on [Sept. 11]," Gonzalez said. "They had friends in the World Trade Center and they just didn't want to finish."
Buck's speech made it OK for the season to continue without guilt or remorse. And Gonzalez will never forget Buck's tribute, which brought tears to an entire stadium.
Steve Overbey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.