IRVING, Texas - While many of them were in elementary or middle school during the 2001 terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the Cowboys players seem more than enthusiastic about their trip to New York on Friday afternoon.
Head coach Jason Garrett has decided to take the team up to Manhattan to visit the One World Trade Center observatory and the National Sept. 11 Memorial Museum for a tour and Friday night dinner.
"I think any time you get a unique opportunity to see something like that, it's inspirational for your team," tight end Jason Witten said. "We had a similar experience last year in London and even more so, it hits home for all of us."
Witten is referring to the Cowboys' team dinner at the Tower of London two days before their 2014 regular-season win over the Jaguars. Since Garrett has been the head coach, he has twice taken the team to the Navy SEALs training operation near San Diego.
But this trip could be even more motivational.[embeddedad0]
"Life is short, man. Tomorrow is not promised," defensive end Jeremy Mincey said, referring to the 9/11 attacks. "Those guys on that plane didn't know any of that would happen. You can't take one moment for granted. Sometimes as an athlete we do that. We tend to do that and forget the most important things in life. It'll be good to go up there and actually get a reality check by seeing what's real and how valuable this opportunity we have is."
Running back Joseph Randle said he was in the third grade during 9/11, but remembers his teachers rolling the TVs into the classroom to watch the coverage.
"It was a tragedy. Even at a young age, I knew it was a tragedy," Randle said. "So it's going to be real big on Friday, getting to go check that out. Coach Garrett thought that was important for us, and I do, too. That's going to be something special for us to go view as a team."
Garrett, who attended the opening of the buildings back in May, knew he wanted to take his team up there if the opportunity presented itself.
"It captures the spirit of that time really, really well," Garrett said. "One of the things that stuck out to me was the number of people who were involved in building the One World Observatory at the Freedom Tower. They're quoted in videos throughout the tour and an overarching theme is, 'This building is made of steel and cement, but really the foundation of this building is people.' And I really believe that for that time and how everyone there responded to this adversity and this tragedy. And I think that's inspirational for anybody in any walk of life."
The team will then conduct a Saturday walk-through at a high school field near the team hotel in an effort to keep a similar travel routine.
"We'll mimic that schedule that we do here and have our regular meetings Saturday night and then play on Sunday," Garrett said.