Tennis Teams with 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance to Encourage Americans to Commit to Community Service to Honor All Affected by that Tragic Day
FLUSHING, N.Y., September 6, 2021 – The USTA will recognize and honor United States military members on Labor Day Monday, during Lt. Joe Hunt Military Appreciation Day at the 2021 US Open. This marks the day’s ninth anniversary. In 2019, the day was named in honor of Lt. Joe Hunt, the only player in history to win the U.S. national boys’, junior, collegiate and men’s singles titles. Lt. Hunt, who won the U.S. Nationals in 1943 while on leave from the Navy, was killed when his fighter plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 1945.
Prior to the start of play, the USTA will conduct a tennis clinic for military vets who participate in the Military Mondays program for military veterans at the USTA National Campus in the Lake Nona area of Orlando, Fla. Over the course of the day, the US Open will recognize military members and their families who have been invited to watch the matches in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
To begin Monday’s evening session, the US Open will conduct a special on-court ceremony that will feature a presentation of flags to three families who lost family members at the three 9/11 terrorist attack locations. The flags will be presented by three representatives of three military academies including Vice Admiral Sean Buck, the Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy, Brigadier General Mark Quander, Commandant of Cadets at the United States Military Academy, and Colonel Otis C. Jones, the Vice Superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy. The flags were flown at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
The families receiving the flags, the Homer Family, the Vigiano Family and Pycior Family, each lost a family member at one of the three 9/11 terrorist attack locations. In Pennsylvania, LeRoy Homer, was the First Officer on Flight 93. Joe Vigiano was New York Police Officer, and sadly his brother John, a member of the FDNY, also died responding to the attack. Joseph Pycior, a Navy Petty Officer First Class, was on active duty serving at the Pentagon on 9/11.
“With the approach of the 20th Anniversary of 9/11, Lt. Joe Hunt Military Appreciation Day will honor all those service members who kept our country safe following that tragic day,” said USTA Chairman of the Board and President Mike McNulty. “By teaming with the 9/11 Day organization and the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, we’re encouraging the entire tennis community to give back to their communities as a meaningful tribute to all those directly affected by the events of that day.”
“Lt. Joe Hunt Military Appreciation Day is an opportunity for all of us to remember the 1.2 million service members, who, like Joe, gave their lives in service to our nation,” said Admiral Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “It’s also an opportunity to remember and salute the heroism of our first responders in New York, at the Pentagon, and Somerset Country, Pennsylvania, on 9/11.”
The USTA and the USTA Foundation are supporting the world-wide efforts of the 9/11 Day organization The nonprofit’s ongoing mission is to transform the anniversary of 9/11 into a worldwide day of unity and doing good, and to annually encourage millions of people to remember and pay tribute each September 11th through doing good deeds that help others and rekindle the extraordinary spirit of togetherness and compassion that arose in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy. Through the efforts of the USTA Foundation and its NJTL network of community tennis organizations that provide opportunities for underserved youth, tennis is committing to 100,000 good deeds to help the 9/11 Day organizers reach its goal of helping to generate 20 million good deeds for the 20th Anniversary of 9/11.
“9/11 Day thanks the USTA and the entire tennis playing community for their commitment and support to help us achieve our ambitious goal,” said David Paine, President and Co-Founder of 9/11 Day. “More than anything else, we want something positive and good to come from the tragedy in honor of those lost, injured or sickened as a result of the attacks and in tribute to those who rose in service.”