This Sunday, when you’re relaxing on the couch and watching the NFL kick off a new season, take a minute to remember those who lost their lives in the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.

Take a minute to remember the innocent victims and the brave men and women who lost their lives to ensure the safety of others. Take a minute to remember the troops who have put everything on the line to defend our freedom and way of life.

The tragic events of Sept. 11 will never escape our thoughts, and what are now 10-year-old memories still remain fresh. These images trapped in our minds are still difficult to think about, but go back to them and remember the emotions.

Sept. 11 put so many Americans in a position they never expected to be in. A nation full of independent and proud people was devastated and weak, desperately seeking something around which to unite.

Being a sports fan in this country is a privilege. Fans unite around their teams and accept their favorite players as if members of their own families. The passion is unmatched.

And, in September 2001, despite the ongoing aftermath of arguably the most tragic event in the history of this country, New Yorkers united in typical New York fashion.

The raw emotion of the Big Apple could be seen on every face in Shea Stadium on Sept. 21, 2001. It was the first professional sporting event played in the city since the attacks, and with heavily increased security and fans still feeling the shock, the atmosphere was quiet and reserved.

Then, in the bottom of the eighth, and with the Mets trailing 2-1, catcher Mike Piazza belted a two-run home run to straightaway center field. The crowd erupted, backed by pent-up emotion from 10 days of insecurity and sorrow.

In sports, life always goes on. One team wins and one team loses, and in the end we all move on with our lives and continue our daily routines. But on that night in 2001, when New Yorkers needed each other more than ever, they found their peace in baseball.

Remember the events of Sept. 11, and never forget. But also remember how during a city’s darkest moment, New York’s residents rallied together around something more than just a game.