In sports, it is said that having a short memory can be a good thing, especially when it comes to moving past a particularly ugly loss. Learn your lesson, and then move on.
But in real life, it’s not always that simple and time to reflect on those moments that change our lives should always be granted. With the approaching 10th anniversary of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 approaching, the need to remember the past has never been more important.
For San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch, the memory of those terrorist attacks that occurred on that unforgettable Tuesday morning is still fresh in his mind.
“We were already on the training field that morning and somebody came from the office to tell us what was going on,” Busch said. “Our coach promptly finished training and we all went home. We went back to our living rooms and watched it all develop, like everyone else in the U.S. did. For me the biggest thing was just sitting there and not believing that this was actually happening to our country and that people were capable of doing this. It was disbelief and also a nightmare.”
A native of the New York City borough of Queens, the nightmare of the events in lower Manhattan soon took on a personal significance as Busch learned more about the tragedies suffered when the twin towers of the World Trade Center collapsed. What was shocking while watching on television was trumped by the news he later received from his family.
“It turns out the other part of it was that I had a cousin who was a firefighter who ended up dying that day in the World Trade Center,” Busch said.
Nearly 3,000 people died in the terrorist attacks that morning, including many of the heroic firefighters and rescue personnel that rushed to the towers and made the ultimate sacrifice to save as many lives as they could. Busch had it in mind for some time that he wanted to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and the bravery and sacrifice of the firefighters, including his cousin, who gave their lives that day.
“It was a tough day for so many people in this country,” said Busch solemnly, “and I think this was one of the biggest events in the history of the United States that affected so many people. My feelings are that it has been 10 years and people are still affected by it, and we all need to pay our respects to the people that are gone as well as the people that were heroes during that time and continually acting with heroism on a daily basis since then.”
Busch decided he could do his part by raising money and awareness of the sacrifices of firefighters with a special auction of his game-worn boots following the Earthquakes’ home game against the Chicago Fire. With the weekend match coinciding with the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Busch set about commissioning a custom pair of boots for the occasion. The shoes will be inscribed with a simple but resonating message: 9-11-2001, Never Forget.
However, as the Earthquakes goalkeeper was making plans toward that goal, he was struck by another tragic event stemming from the ongoing war against terrorism.
On Aug. 6, over 30 American military servicemen, including 22 elite Navy SEALs, were killed when insurgents shot down their helicopter over Afghanistan. Their deaths were a reminder to Busch that the sacrifices made in the name of securing the freedom of all Americans in the face of terrorism were forever ongoing.
“I’ve always had a warm spot in my heart for the military and what they go through, especially the Navy SEALs” Busch said. “They are people that you might come in contact with and you would have no idea they were SEALs because they can’t let you know what they do in the real world, but they allow me to go out and catch a ball every day for a job.”
[inline_node:10393]His appreciation for these elite servicemen, who live in anonymity because of the delicate nature of their responsibilities, grew at learning of their dedication to their jobs. Busch made the decision to honor the Navy SEALs along with the fallen firefighters of 9/11 by including them in his money raising efforts for the Chicago match.
“They deserve the utmost respect and credit, especially because they can’t get enough thanks from us, the everyday people. So when I saw what happened a few weeks ago with the SEALS, I decided to honor that charity as well.”
To double-up his symbolic gesture for the victims of 9/11 and the servicemen who lost their lives on Aug. 6, Busch went about having a commemorative pair of goalkeeping gloves fashioned with the Navy SEAL Special Operations badge sewn directly to the wrist straps. In fact, he went one step further and had two pairs of the boots and gloves commissioned for the fundraiser.
One pair of Busch’s game-worn gear, including his jersey, will be auctioned off during the match on Saturday and a second pair that Busch will don during the second half will be sold on eBay starting on Tuesday, Sept. 13. All proceeds will go to the Navy SEAL Foundation. Busch is hoping that Earthquakes supporters do all they can to rally behind the cause and help in commemorating their heroic endeavors.
“To me this is a very important cause that has nothing to do with me,” Busch added. “It has to do with the men and women of the Special Forces who are willing to give their lives every day as well as firefighters, including volunteer firefighters, who are also willing to take big risks to do their jobs. For me personally, I would like to thank them. This is my little way of saying thank you to them.”