|Saturday, September 15
Updated: September 17, 10:11 PM ET
Curt Schilling's letter to America
The following is an open letter by Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Curt Schilling in the wake of Tuesday's tragedy:
To the fans of Major League Baseball, and the victims and families of Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C.,
I'd like to start off by saying that what I am writing is purely my opinion, and my family's feelings on these issues. I am not speaking for any other players in baseball, or in any other sport across our nation or around the world.
I'll begin by addressing the trivial items addressed late this week as far as our sport is concerned. The decision made by Commissioner Bud Selig on Thursday afternoon to resume games on Monday was one overwhelmingly favored by the major-league players. In our conference call on Thursday I got the impression that players, just like every other American citizen out there, didn't need baseball right now, and it was probably best said by Jerome Bettis when he stated, "We are entertainers, and I don't think America wants to be entertained right now."
I believe that we all felt this way, and hope that the few people in this country who wanted us to play understand that we made the decision as citizens of this country, not as baseball players.
To the victims and families of the tragedies inflicted on us this past week we send our hearts out to you, and our prayers that you will find some comfort, some solace in the coming weeks as this great country gets up on its feet and defends itself as the world's greatest nation, with the world's greatest people.
Like a lot of people, my thoughts Tuesday afternoon steered towards revenge, retaliation, retribution, in just how hard we could hit back.
My first cognizant thought was, "Man, did they pick on the wrong country." Then, after watching TV, I began to realize that not only did they pick on the wrong country, but they couldn't have picked a worse target. There is no city on this planet that more represents its nation than New York does in the United States. New York is the true definition of a melting pot. Every race, religion and color are represented in New York, and on Tuesday you saw every race, every religion, every color, come together as one nation of people fighting for one common goal -- to save lives. I can honestly tell you that I have never been as proud to be an American as I was that day, to see the men and women of this great country come together and pour their blood, sweat and tears into saving those that could be saved. They continue to do so today, and with no less effort. That in and of itself should make us proud as hell.
My wife, Shonda, and our three young children stepped outside on Friday at 7 p.m., lit a candle and prayed together. We prayed that those heroic men and women of the NYPD, FDNY and the U.S. Government that sacrificed their lives in the minutes following the first explosion at the World Trade Center are now in a safe and beautiful place.
To those families that lost loved ones in the NYPD and in the FDNY, I can only offer our sincerest thank you. Please know that athletes in this country look to your husbands and wives as they may have looked at the men of our profession when they were young, as heroes, as idols, for they are everything every man should strive to be in life and they died in a way reserved only for those who would make the ultimate sacrifice for this nation, and for the freedom we oftentimes take for granted.
Words cannot heal your wounds, not even time will heal the wounds for those who have suffered loss this week. But other than money and blood, which I hope the players in MLB will be giving of both, it is all we have to offer.
We will step on the fields of Major League Baseball on Monday night, but please know that we are not doing this as an aversion to forget what happened on Tuesday. Nothing will ever make us forget that day. But we are doing so because it is our job, and I honestly feel that if you do have a chance to catch a few minutes of a game, and see every sports fan in every stadium stand for that initial moment of silence, and understand when we do so that we do so for you, and for your families. And in the seventh-inning stretch when this nation sings God Bless America, we do so because we can, because in this country men and woman have died so that we can continue on as a free nation, and we will be thinking of you then also.
And it's my belief that if you watch close enough you will see players, many players in fact, trying in some small way to say thank you, and that we won't forget you or your loved ones as some of us will have messages scrawled somewhere on our hats or uniforms that you can read.
We will proudly wear the great flag of this country on our uniforms, and it's something I hope baseball adopts forever.
The flags in this country fly at half-staff to honor those that have fallen, but the flags are the only thing going halfway in this country and it's my belief that that will not change. I believe our President when he says retribution will be swift and total; as an American it's all I can go on, but based on what I have seen done these past few days by other Americans it's more than enough.
To those out there that serve in the military, and to those with children serving in the military, I offer my sincerest thanks, and our prayers are with you and yours in the days and weeks to come. We know you'll do us proud.
In closing let me say God Bless America and God Bless Americans everywhere.