BOULDER, Colo. – The USA Rugby Men’s National Team will honor those rugby men and women who perished in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks by wearing a black armband and observing a moment of silence before their 2011 Rugby World Cup opener against Ireland on Sunday in New Plymouth, New Zealand.
USA Eagles vice-captain and Brooklyn, N.Y. native, Mike Petri, was a senior at Xavier High School in Manhattan when the attacks occurred and knows well the significance of playing on the ten-year anniversary.
Petri recalls the Twin Towers being there when he went to school and seeing a smoking pile of rubble when he returned home that day.
“Ten years ago, that was a dark day for everyone…you never forget something like that. It’s a huge honor for us to represent our country on that day. Hopefully we can do justice, in more ways than one, certainly, and connect with a lot of the rugby community in America that was affected,” Petri said.
Many members of the American rugby community lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001 in the various attack sites. Many of them in New York, but perhaps most well-known were Mark Bingham, a former University of California – Berkeley rugby player and founder of the San Francisco Fog and Gotham Knights, and former University of Rochester (New York) rugby player and Judo champion, Jeremy Glick.
Bingham and Glick were on flight United 93, which crashed in Shanksville, Pa., on 9-11. Hijackers took over the cockpit and aimed the plane towards Washington D.C.
Though the events onboard are difficult to confirm, it is widely believed that Bingham, Glick, and at least two other people rushed the cockpit in an attempt to regain control of the plane but in the struggle, the plane tragically crashed.
No one on board United 93 survived, but no one on the ground was harmed. If it weren’t for the heroic actions of Bingham, Glick, and others, the result may have been very different.
In honor the members of the rugby family and the victims of 9-11, the USA and Ireland will wear black armbands in remembrance of the fallen.
The USA v. Ireland game will be broadcast on NBC at 1 p.m. Eastern, and on Universal Sports at 5 p.m. Eastern.