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9/11 Remembrances: Lilian Garcia’s National Anthem

Lilian Garcia's National Anthem

Photo via WWE.com

Many people will be sharing their thoughts on 9/11 today. Mine isn’t going to be all that similar to everyone else’s. Actually, there’s probably 12,000 people who share this memory, including our own Cactus Jim.

I’ve written this many times before, but I was in Houston on a business trip on 9/11. I was away from my two kids who at the time were both under 2-years of age. And I was away from them until the weekend when flights were finally available again.

The tragic events of 9/11 caused the cancellation of many events, including Major League Baseball, which didn’t pick up again until the weekend, and the NFL, which cancelled games for a week. The New York Stock Exchange was closed until September 17th. The 2001 Emmy Awards was rescheduled twice.

But the WWE had a different idea. Their Smackdown TV taping in Houston was scheduled for 9/11. Cactus Jim and I were planning on getting tickets from scalpers and going. Instead of shelving the taping and running something else on their Thursday Smackdown show, they decided to go live on Thursday, September 13 and did a feel good show which wasn’t centered around storylines at all.

Vince McMahon opened up the show with a speech about how the spirit of America doesn’t back down. It was one of the first live events after 9/11. While most didn’t think anything was going to happen, there was definitely a small fear inside that building.

It’s one of the most memorable wrestling events I’ve ever attended, but not because of the wrestling. In fact, I don’t really remember anything about the matches. I do remember Stephanie McMahon speaking out of turn. But there was a feeling of pride in the Compaq center.

Lilian Garcia followed up Vince McMahon’s opening speech with the best version of the National Anthem I’ve heard live.

Even now, 12 years later, I can still hear her hit the crescendo, singing, “… our flag was still there.”

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