Phillies reflect, hold 'Patriot Day' tribute on Sept. 11

Phillies reflect, hold 'Patriot Day' tribute on Sept. 11

Phillies reflect, hold 'Patriot Day' tribute on Sept. 11
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. woke up Tuesday and could not help but think about Sept. 11, 2001.

The same for Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee and others.

The Phillies held a "Patriot Day" tribute before and during Tuesday's game against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park, commemorating the memories of the lives lost during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The tribute included a state flags presentation, featuring local police and firemen; Christopher Suprun -- who is a paramedic and firefighter and was a first responder to the attack at the Pentagon on Sept. 11 -- throwing out the first ball; police officer Brooks Kranich singing the national anthem; Master Sgt. Lori McCarty singing "America the Beautiful," and Technical Sgt. Jody Johnson singing "God Bless America."

"It's very humbling to be here," said Suprun, who used to live in Virginia before moving to Dallas. "My dad is from South Jersey, so I grew up hearing about Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton. It's a big deal to be here.

"Sept. 11 is always on your mind, I guess. Once you have an event like that, it's our generation's Pearl Harbor or Kennedy assassination. For me, it's a reminder that we overcame that. It was a terrible day. It was awful. But we overcame. Katrina hit, but we overcame. That's part of the reason I'm visiting. Take my message to kids who may not have been alive for 9/11. Look, you can get through it." He gave that same message to his own son Dodge, 9.

Amaro was the Phillies' assistant general manager on Sept. 11. Dubee was the Marlins' pitching coach.

"We were watching in disbelief, literally in disbelief," Amaro recalled. "It was so tragic, so bizarre and so surreal. But I do remember when we came back to play that it was an extraordinarily emotional time. I thought it was great to be a part of Major League Baseball and see what it means to our country and our place in history in terms of starting the healing process."

Dubee recalls driving back to Miami following an off-day, then spending the next few days working out with pitchers at the ballpark while everybody tried to figure out what was going on and when play would resume.

"It was real weird," Dubee said. "It's something you don't envision, that's for sure."