Football, 9/11, and Red Bandannas

Note: As with all of my photographs that are linked to my Flickr. Click on the actual photograph and it will take you to my account where you can then find larger versions of the photos.

Last weekend marked the 10 year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001.  On Saturday across the nation, tributes and memorials were held during many sporting events to honor and remember those who tragically died on that day.

At UCF a couple of students that had watched the ESPN OTL tribute to Welles Crowther (a Boston College graduate) decided it would be a good idea to wear red bandannas in honor of Welles and all those who died on 9/11 at the UCF vs BC football game.

It started out as a Facebook invitation to a small group of friends and quickly flourished into an event that had thousands of people committed to wearing a read bandanna to the game. I personally bought a dozen for myself, family, and friends.  It was reported you couldn’t find red bandannas for miles outside of Orlando leading up to the game.

I was curious to see what the actual turnout would be like.  Arriving on campus and walking around showed that the message may have gotten to more people than I had expected.

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Even parking staff got in on the event.
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It wasn’t just students that were wearing red bandannas.
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People had festive and patriotic tents all across campus
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I found it somewhat amusing the red bandannas placed on knight statues and even card board cutouts of head coach George O’Leary.
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The longer the day went on, more people showed up, and the number of red bandannas continued to grow as well.

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Inside the Engineering II Atrium (a place I spent many long hours studying in) they had draped an American Flag over the side of the stairs.
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And despite not participating in the festivities outside, there were studious students still participating in the red bandanna honoring.
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All of this culminated in the sea of red bandannas that would find its way into the stadium later that day.
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Even our Pegasus rode into the stadium adorned with a red bandanna.
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As well as our Mascot, Knightro.
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In attendance were men and women of our armed forces. There were several military appreciation tributes throughout the game.
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The student and band section did not disappoint.
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Spoiler Alert! Crazy Mustachio!
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The most memorable and touching moment of the night came during the third quarter when the sisters of Welles Crowther took the field for the official remembrance of Welles.
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At that moment, people began to wave their bandannas in the air cheering.
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Click on this link to see the above photo in a larger format.

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_MG_7205-Edit.jpgI certainly expected the student section (pictured above) to have participated in the honoring in large droves. What I didn’t expect was the number of alumni and fans sitting throughout the rest of the stadium wearing red bandannas.  From the picture below you can see the home sideline seats that are filled with thousands upon thousands of Black, Gold, and Red. It was amazing to see, not for the number of people who were participating, but the fact that those people now know the story of Welles Crowther. _MG_7206.jpg

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This experience was one I had not seen before at a UCF football game. I thought it was touching to honor a graduate of the visiting Boston College team that saved the lives of dozens of people while ultimately sacrificing his own on 9/11. Especially from a fan base not always known for being the most hospitable. But it goes to show that there are some things in life that are far more important and can rise above anything else.

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10 thoughts on “Football, 9/11, and Red Bandannas

  1. Even though she shared this beautiful tribute to her son with me in Sept., Welles’ mom just gave me this blog address to check out the photos. Thanks so much for sharing these. My favorite line in your post was, “… from a fan base not always known for being the most hospitable…. it goes to show that there are some things in life that are far more important and can rise above anything else.” Thanks to UCF for showing their true colors…Isn’t that the lesson that Welles has taught us all?

    • Very true, and thank you for visiting. Welles certainly is an inspiration to many and it’s encouraging amidst this awful tragedy that the family of Welles is able to spread his story in such a positive manner so that others may continue to feel the reach of humanity that he provided, especially to those on 9/11, but also the thousands that learn about him so many years later.

  2. Pingback: WTC: My visits « An Asian and His Camera

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