First Responder Hats: A Symbol on Sunday Night

One of the many eye-catching sights at Sunday night's Jets-Cowboys season opener at MetLife Stadium on the 10th anniversary of September 11th was the many wearers of First Responder hats.

The Jets thank all their fans for their valuable support in purchasing the hats and in the process donating to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and the NYPD, FDNY and PAPD foundations. More than 4,000 fans bought hats at the stadium's Jets Shop store, and as of Monday night more than 5,600 hats were sold, bringing in $80,000 — with 100 percent of the proceeds going back to those four groups.

There are still some hats left for purchase if you want to remember this day and to honor those who were there first to help as many people as possible in the hours, days and weeks after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Go to jetsshop.com* *for more information.

All who were in the stadium will remember many of the sights and sounds of that remarkable day and night at MetLife — quarterback Mark Sanchez called it "a big memorial day" — that lingered for the Jets players in the hours after their remarkable 27-24 comeback victory over Dallas and the days afterward.

"Obviously, there was a lot of emotion playing here, where the attacks happened. It was very emotional for a lot of people," said safety Jim Leonhard. "Seeing all the first responders gathered on the field, there were a lot of emotions in this. You wanted to win for yourself, but you wanted to win for the city.

"Rex [Ryan] came in and said it was a team win and everyone stepped up. The city stepped up. The city stepped up 10 years ago and this was really a celebration of what's gone on in the last 10 years.

Among the many pregame activities at the stadium was the unfurling of a field-sized American flag. As Lady Antebellum sang the National Anthem, everyone in uniform grabbed on and helped the flag ripple for NBC's cameras, for a city, for a region, for a nation. And those in uniform included the players from both the Jets and Cowboys.

"I felt honored, I really did," said running back LaDainian Tomlinson. "Those were the people that did the ground work — recovery, first responders. They got in and did the dirty work, and I felt honored to be standing next to them."

And standing right behind many of those in uniform on the field were about 175 uniformed members of the crew of the USS New York, who received tickets from the Jets to attend the game. The ship, manufactured in part with seven tons of steel from the World Trade Center, was commissioned in November 2009, with Jets owner Woody Johnson serving as chairman of the commissioning committee.

Tomlinson even joined the non-football-playing residents of the area in taking in the coverage of ceremonies during the day on New York's television stations.

"Yeah, I watched that," he said, "and I also heard a lot of people on radio stations talking to different people that were affected by it. Some of the first responders were on there talking about their experience. It was really moving. You really got the sense of how special a day it was."

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