On Sunday, many Americans turned on their televisions to watch the official start of the NFL football season. Some were tuned in to watch the game, others to see which teams — or which players — might join Colin Kaepernick in his protest of the national anthem.
But as the games began, America was also conscious that football was not the only focus of the day. Many of Sunday's games included on-field tributes to the lives lost 15 years ago on September 11, 2001.
In Arlington's AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, former President George W. Bush stepped out onto the field with First Lady Laura Bush and two NYPD officers who had been first responders on 9/11:
Bush shared his own photo, including a brief message and his prayer for America:
Bush captioned his photo:
"Honored to be with David Norman and Robert Zajac of the New York Police Department today, first responders at Ground Zero fifteen years ago. For many of us, today may feel like any Football Sunday in America.
For David, Robert, first responders, and those who lost loved ones on 9/11, the memories of that dark day are fresh - and so is the pain. Laura and I hold the victims of 9/11 and their families in our hearts, and on this anniversary, we lift them up in our prayers.
May God bless all who mourn, and may He continue to bless and watch over our great land."
Former First Lady Laura Bush added her own perspective with another angle:
Her caption reads:
“On the 15th anniversary of 9/11, we remember the lives of those lost and honor the first responders at Ground Zero like David Norman and Robert Zajac of the New York Police Department. #weremember”
There were a few negative responses to Bush's tribute:
But most were pleased to see the former President cheering his home team — and honoring his country:
The entire stadium erupted in chants of “USA! USA! USA!” as Bush walked onto the field, flanked by Laura and the two police officers:
And as the anthem played, the former President sang along:
On other football fields, players engaged in protests of the national anthem and the flag. But in Dallas, differences were put aside and everyone came together to honor the fallen.
Watch the emotional tribute here: