Yanks honor 9/11 victims with memorial
Structure at George M. Steinbrenner Field dedicated Sunday
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees formally dedicated a permanent Sept. 11 memorial on Sunday at George M. Steinbrenner Field, the organization's Spring Training home.
Placed at the entrance of the stadium complex, the memorial is dedicated to those who lost their lives in the 2001 attacks, their families and the members of the United States Armed Forces who continue to fight the war on terrorism.
The memorial was dedicated prior to New York's 1:15 p.m. ET game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. It contains a piece of steel from the World Trade Center, which was presented to the Yankees by the "Gene O'Kane Division" of retired New York City firefighters.
As announced by the Yankees, the grass that the memorial is situated on represents those who lost their lives in Somerset County, Penn., on United Flight 93. The foundation of the monument is in the shape of the Pentagon, symbolizing those who lost their lives there, including passengers on American Airlines Flight 77. The memorial's two steel towers represent the World Trade Center and those who died in New York City.
The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Joe Holland, a retired New York City firefighter whose son, Joseph, was killed in the collapse of the north tower. He and his son, Bryan, were escorted to the mound by Yankees manager Joe Girardi and shortstop Derek Jeter. Former Yankee Tino Martinez caught the pitch.
Representing the Gene O'Kane Division were Jim Schuppel, Joe Baal and Bill Bassler. Steel and funding for the monument was contributed by Gerdau Ameristeel, represented at the ceremony by Michael Robinson. Rustic Steel Creations designed and built the memorial, and was represented by owner Dominique Martinez, and architects and fabricators Francine Messano, Mike Clar and Travis Olson.
As part of the ceremony, a wreath was placed at home plate by representatives of the Gene O'Kane Division and Yankees general partner/vice chairperson Jennifer Steinbrenner-Swindal.
Monsignor Laurence Higgins offered a prayer in remembrance, and the colors were presented by the Joint Services Color Guard from the U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, along with the Tampa Police Honor Guard and the Tampa Fire Honor Guard. The national anthem was performed by Deputy Lori Hoffschneider of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
Sunday's game was sponsored by Delta Air Lines, which selected the game to pay tribute to the entire airline industry and the crews and passengers who perished that day.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.