FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The Patriots, who are on the road to open the regular season on the 10-year anniversary of September 11, will recognize the somber occasion at their Thursday, Sept. 1 preseason game versus the New York Giants.
As part of the remembrance, the Patriots will host former guard Joe Andruzzi, his three New York City firefighter brothers and his father, a former New York City police officer. It was an iconic moment in franchise history, when the four Andruzzi boys and their father were recognized on the field at Foxboro Stadium on September 23, 2001, just 12 days after the events of 9/11 as the NFL returned to play and the country began its long healing process. The Andruzzi family will serve as honorary game captains and participate in the coin toss.
Also as part of the tribute, members of all five branches of the military will participate in pregame ceremonies, as well as local police, state police and local firefighters. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard will present five separate color guards for the national anthem while dozens of police officers and firefighters line the field from end zone to end zone. Approximately 200 armed service members, police and firefighters will take part in the ceremonies Thursday night.
In celebration of USA Football month in August, the Patriots also invited 1,500 youth football players and cheerleaders from Massachusetts and Rhode Island to attend Thursday's game free of charge. Invited guests include members of the eight teams that represented New England in the 2010 Pop Warner Super Bowl championships held in Florida. During halftime of Thursday night's game, four local Pop Warner football teams will scrimmage on the Gillette Stadium field. Approximately 100 youth football players from Plymouth (two teams), Bellingham and Arlington will participate in the scrimmages.