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."

9/11, 10 Years Later: We Shall Not Forget
MLB.com's 2001 coverage after Sept. 11
Baseball showed USA's post-9/11 resiliency
Castrovince: Public finds solace at ballparks
Bauman: However small, diversion is welcome
Noble: 10 years later, bagpipes and baseball
Giuliani recalls baseball's impact after 9/11
Baseball recalls wide-ranging emotions
Bauman: Game shaken, resolved in aftermath
Mets' memories remain vivid
In New York, Cubs remember 9/11 heroes
Torre: Emotions from 9/11 remain today
Tragedy strikes 9/11 'Faces of Hope'
Where were they? Players recall 9/11 events
Events left impression on Fall Classic
  Sights & Sounds: 2001 | 10 years later
  Baseball Remembers: Pt. 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
 Vin Scully on 9/11, 10 years later
 Jack Buck's speech, poem
 Giuliani on baseball's impact on recovery
 First pitch: Shea Stadium | Yankee Stadium
 Baseball's Best: Piazza's homer
 Galleries: Tributes | First game back in NY
How you can help
9/11 Memorial in New York
Flight 93 National Memorial
The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial

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.