Remembering Sept. 11 at Kauffman Stadium
Kauffman Stadium is approximately 1,070 miles away from Washington, D.C. But, as we remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Tuesday and salute our local uniformed heroes, Washington and the Pentagon seem a little closer to home – especially from the view at the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat.
Jill Hyson calls Blue Springs, Mo., home now, but on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, she happened to be in the middle of a two-week assignment as an X-ray technician with the Air Force Reserves. And, she happened to be at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. When the plane hit, Jill was instructed to evacuate, but as she proceeded to follow those commands she spotted someone in need of help – a critically burned Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Brian Birdwell. Jill kicked into action, flagging down a vehicle and getting LTC Birdwell and herself to Georgetown University Hospital, where doctors worked to treat him and credited Jill’s courage and quick thinking for saving LTC Birdwell’s life. To this day, LTC Birdwell, a Missouri native living in Texas now, admits he would not be alive without Jill’s assistance on that tragic day. For Jill, it was just a case of her doing her job.
“It’s an honor to be recognized, of course,” Jill said, prior to the Royals-Twins game on Tuesday. “But, I do not look at myself as a hero. It’s my job to help others and I’m proud to be able to it.”
On Tuesday, six years after the Sept. 11 attacks, Kansas City and the Royals continue to honor Jill’s courage and dedication to helping others. Stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base, she is the 73rd person to sit in the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat this season and we are happy to welcome her and her family to The K!
Also, during Royals pre-game Tuesday, eight honorary first pitches were thrown – with Royals Alumni catching behind the plate – as part of "Salute to Uniformed Heroes" night. There was one pitch from each of the five branches of the military as well as three pitches representing emergency personal (fire, police and medical). Thanks to all our uniformed heroes both here and over seas for your continued service to our country!