The LSU Marching Band Performs ‘Amazing Grace’ At First Home Game After 9/11 In LSU Tiger Stadium
After the terrorist attacks of 9/11 on our country, we all had our guard up when we entered into a public domain or arena. I was fortunate enough to attend the first LSU home football game after 9/11/01 and it was the most intense atmosphere I had ever experienced in any stadium. Yet, during pregame festivities, all fears and concerns for our safety quickly evaporated when LSU's marching band took to the field.
Walking into the stadium that night, you could feel and see a huge security presence. I recall seeing what seemed like thousands of state police officers, sheriffs deputies, and police officers all over the stadium. When you turned around to walk away from one, there were two more police officers around the next corner. The atmosphere was intense.
I also recall watching a plane circle the stadium the whole night. I assume it was either state police or the Baton Rouge Police circling the stadium, but all eyes were on the sky. Being in an open air stadium allowed the 92-thousand plus in attendance that night to survey the sky the entire night. Remember, we were a little "gun shy" after the events of September 11th.
Yet, with all of this going on in the stadium that night, I walked away talking about what the LSU band did prior to the game. I remember this like it was yesterday, prior to the game, the band members took to the filed, got on one knee, and removed their head gear. What happened next in Tiger Stadium that night was the best experience I have ever had in a football stadium. The LSU marching band performed "Amazing Grace" prior to the National Anthem.
I never heard Tiger Stadium so quiet. If a bird would have chirped in the stadium at the time the band was performing "Amazing Grace," we'd have all heard it. Likewise, I never saw so many people in one setting get so emotional. If there were 92-thousand people in Tiger Stadium that night, for the first home game after 9/11/01, 92-thousand people had tears in their eyes. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen at a stadium. We truly were all one on this night.