Razorbacks Remember: Fans Turn War Memorial Stadium Red, White and Blue
At the Arkansas-New Mexico game at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, alternating sections of fans wore red or white T-shirts while the student sections wore blue as a tribute to those who died during the Sept. 11 attacks.
LITTLE ROCK – War Memorial Stadium was a striking scene of red, white and blue on Saturday night for the Arkansas-New Mexico football game as just more than 52,000 fans joined the Razorbacks on the 10th anniversary weekend of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 to pay tribute to those who were lost and those who continue to serve and protect our nation.
The vivid showing of patriotism was orchestrated as part of "Razorback Remembers," a series of remembrances and recognitions coordinated by Razorback Athletics. The color coded tribute was accomplished by asking fans in even numbered seating sections to wear red while those in odd numbered seating sections to wear white. University of Arkansas students seated in the student section were given specially designed blue "Razorbacks Remember" T-shirts.
"In a touching show of patriotism, Razorback fans paid tribute to those who lost their lives on that tragic day and those who continue to risk their lives for our freedom by wearing the colors of our nation and our flag," Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. "It was an incredible sight to see the red, white and blue distributed around War Memorial Stadium. Arkansans are passionate about the Razorbacks. But as was so clearly demonstrated to a national television audience on Saturday night, Arkansans are also extremely patriotic and grateful to those men and women who continue to serve our nation."
The Red, White and Blue Out was just part of the Razorbacks Remember ceremonies held in conjunction with the football game. Prior to the national anthem, a moment of silence was observed all of those in attendance.
Following the tribute, members of the Little Rock Fire Department presented the colors for the national anthem while carrying some meaningful mementos. The individuals hoisting the flags also carried pieces of the World Trade Center in memory of those who perished as part of the attacks or in the rescue efforts that followed. Joining the fire fighters on the field were other first responders and military personnel, including some former Razorback football student-athletes, who unfurled a giant American flag.
performed a flyover. The planes and personnel are based at the Little Rock Air Force base.
Moments later Arkansas made the traditional run through the "A" with a few notable distinctions. Senior offensive lineman Grant Cook led the Razorbacks' entrance to the field carrying the American flag. On the helmets of each Razorback player was a specially designed Razorback decal featuring a red, white and blue Hog. The same special edition Hog was painted at midfield of War Memorial Stadium for the game between the Razorbacks and the Lobos.
White and red T-shirts featuring the red, white and blue Hog were produced for the celebration and are still available for purchase through Hog Heaven. All proceeds from shirts purchased through Hog Heaven are being donated to the Wounded Warriors project.
Between the first and second quarters, Razorback fans gave a standing ovation to members of the Armed Forces who recently returned from Afghanistan, Iraq and other service abroad, as they helped lead the crowd in a Hog call.
The Razorback Marching Band was also an active participant in Razorbacks Remember. In addition to their participation in pre-game festivities, the band engaged the crowd with a series of patriotic songs during the halftime show.
During the halftime presentation, AT&T helped honor the 25 Arkansans who have received the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor. Tamara and Wyatt Bacon, the wife and son of the late Nick Bacon, were presented a commemorative 2011 $1 silver coin that was used in the pre-game coin toss. Nick Bacon was the most recent Arkansan to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1969. AT&T also announced the creation of an AT&T War Memorial Scholarship that will be presented annually to a military veteran who is pursuing a college degree in Arkansas.
During a timeout in the third quarter, fans came to their collective feet again as the pilots who took part in the pre-game flyover were recognized on the field. Chants of "U.S.A., U.S.A.," resonated throughout the stadium.
It all added up to a memorable night not just for the Razorbacks on the football field, but for all Americans as they remembered a day that changed the course of our nation's history forever.
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