Sept. 11, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE
49ERS PAGE 49ERS VIDEO
EDITOR'S NOTE: As fans, what goes through your mind during the playing of the National Anthem? Click on the comment link above to share your thoughts. Thank you.
SAN FRANCISCO -- When recording star Brian McKnight performs "The Star-Spangled Banner" on Sunday before the 49ers-Seahawks game, it is bound to stir up a flurry of emotions throughout the stadium.The ritual playing of the National Anthem means different things to different people. On the 10th anniversary of the 911 terrorist attacks, thoughts and memories will swirl like the winds at Candlestick Park.Tough guy Alex Boone, a 6-foot-8, 300-pound backup offensive tackle for the 49ers, freely admits he often gets emotional during the song.
"I had a brother who fought in Iraq, so there's a lot that goes through my mind," Boone said. "I'm thankful for all those guys over there, doing what they do. I'm thankful for my brother and thankful he came home alive. I'm thankful to be doing what I'm doing."Sometimes I get emotional when a plane flies over. At Ohio State, we used to have the F-16s fly over some times and I'd get teary-eyed. It also depends on how good the singer is, too."
Boone referenced Sydney Shalhoob, an 11-year-old from Santa Barbara. She performed a spectacular rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" prior to the 49ers' exhibition game against the Houston Texans on Aug. 27."Unbelievable. Tears in my eyes," Boone said. "In times like that, I'm just thankful to be here. And thankful for all those guys over there."Here is what some other 49ers said about what goes through their minds during the playing of the National Anthem:"I look at the flag, making sure the team is looking sharp and standing straight and concentrating on that -- respecting the flag and the National Anthem. That's what's going through my head."
-- Coach Jim Harbaugh"It's right before a game, but I try to put things in perspective about the sacrifices others made so I can get to play football on Sundays. I think about the Stars and Stripes and all the wars that were fought to protect our freedom."
-- Quarterback Alex Smith"You just always have that in the back of your mind about what happened in New York. There are a lot of thoughts running through your mind. I think it'll be really emotional."
-- Fullback Moran Norris"Usually, I'm usually paying attention to who's singing and whether they can sing or not. I've already gone through my thoughts about the game in the locker room and I'm ready to play. Sunday is going to be something new. I'm on a new team with a different coach."
-- Cornerback Carlos Rogers"It's going to be remembrance of what happened in New York. It'll be more emotional than usual. I just think about God giving me the chance to live on."
-- Cornerback Tramaine Brock"I usually think about all the past games we had and things that have happened in the past. It's a calm moment to reflect on different things. I think 911 will be on everybody's mind."
-- Safety Reggie Smith"You can only think about what happened that day, 911, and all the brave men and women who fought for us, and think about the firefighters and police departments who contributed to helping people on that day for this country. On 911, it's a little more special and a little more meaningful. For me, I look at the how the guys across the way (on the opponent's sideline) respect the song. If those guys aren't into it, I know they aren't focused. Their demeanor shows a lot about whether they're ready to play."
-- Receiver Braylon Edwards"I usually try to clear my mind and relax and take in the moment. It's usually a time I try to calm myself for the game. It's a pretty significant day. I played in New York the year after that happened, and we used to stay in a Marriott right next to Ground Zero the night before games. It's hard to believe it's been 10 years, so it'll probably be a emotional time."
-- Center Jonathan Goodwin