Golf helps remember and honor 9-11
The PGA of America
Do you remember where you were 11 years ago this morning? I was coming off the overnight shift at Headline News when my stepdad called and told me I was sleeping through the biggest news story of my generation. Though I didn't really believe him, I turned on my t.v. just in time to see the second plane hit. I don't remember doing much else that day except sitting on the couch - feeling really angry, a little scared and very unsure of anything.
About two weeks after, after being glued to the news - at work and at home - I needed a break. And what better place to get a break than heading to the golf course. Yes I felt guilty to some degree, playing golf when we were still searching for bodies, but my emotional and physical state really did need to "disconnect" for a spell.
I went to a local muni course, I don't even remember the name now, but I do recall getting paired up with two other guys who were out there for the exact same reason I was - just to feel normal again. They felt the same anger and guilt I had - and of course, the conversation was dominated by our perspectives of how we should react and where the country was headed.
I also remember the course had replaced its normal flags with American flags on all the pins. I think this is fairly common now for various occasions, but this was the first time I had seen this. It meant a lot to me. Not sure why, but it did.
In the aftermath of 9/11 and the two wars that have commenced since - this nation has seen a large number of heroes sacrifice so much to protect our freedoms, pursue our enemies and defend this great nation. And in many ways, the golf community has been a leader in honoring them.
My friends at Folds of Honor and Patriot Golf Day have certainly had a large impact, as well as great organizations like Golf 9/12 and Birdies for the Brave. In fact, there are literally hundreds of groups that have sprung forth based on golf, or are using golf, to honor and remember the events and the aftermath of that fateful day.
It's a silver lining to a very dark cloud, but it shows the bonding and triumphant spirit of the American people and the common love of golf that gives us the spirit and opportunity to do great things when times require great effort.
Working in the golf world is so much more rewarding than working in the news business, and this is a big reason why. Rather than telling the story, there's now an opportunity to be a part of - and shape a really good story. And collectively, golf allows us to make our healing and our support of our troops a really really good story.
Think back to this day in 2001 and how horrible you felt. Then come back to the present and remember how great it is to live in this country.
PGA of America Championships
Benton Harbor, Mich.
Sahalee Country Club
Baltusrol Golf Club
Hazeltine National Golf Club