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09/11/09 10:24 PM ET

Yankees remember Sept. 11

Pregame ceremony marks eighth anniversary of attack

NEW YORK -- On Monday, Sept. 10, 2001, the game between the Yankees and Red Sox at Yankee Stadium was rained out. At the time, New York had a 13-game lead over Boston in the American League East, but by the following morning, the pennant race was the last thing on anyone's mind.

"I remember I was in Chicago when [Sept. 11] happened, and a friend from New York called me and said, 'Did you see what's going on?' " manager Joe Girardi recalled on Friday, the eight-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

Girardi and his wife, Kim, talked to their three children on Thursday night and tried to describe the sadness of the events of that day.

"Playing on [this day], there's still a lot of tough times people are going through in dealing with this," Girardi said. "And if we can take away from those tough times for a few hours, I'm glad to do it. This is a day that's going to be hard for us for a long, long time."

Girardi took part in a pregame ceremony that gave recognition to the USS New York and the ship's crew, as well as the commissioning committee. The state-of-the-art stealth ship, the bow stem of which includes 7 1/2 tons of steel recovered from the World Trade Center towers, is scheduled to be commissioned into the Navy's fleet on Nov. 7.

Scheduled to arrive in New York Harbor on Nov. 2, the USS New York will proceed up the Hudson River. It will pause and dip its ensign (the American flag) as it passes the World Trade Center site, then proceed up to the George Washington Bridge, turn and dock at its Manhattan pier.

Following the recognition of the fleet's crew, the presentation of colors was made by the USS New York Naval Color Guard, the FDNY Color Guard, the NYPD Color Guard and the Port Authority Color Guard before third-class Naval musician Laura Carey sang the national anthem.

Representing Washington -- a metropolitan area also affected by the events of 9/11 -- was Janet Napolitano, secretary of homeland security, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

"You can't help but think back," Derek Jeter said. "I think everyone thinks back. I think everybody in this clubhouse, on this team, in New York City, everyone in the country looks back and gets a chance to reflect on Sept. 11."

After the night's game, Jeter might be forever linked with Sept. 11. The captain hit a single in the third inning for the 2,722nd hit of his career, passing Lou Gehrig for sole possession of the Yankees' all-time hit record.

Brittany Ghiroli is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.