September 11 turns twenty, even if the pain of the attack on the Twin Towers remains fresh and indelible in everyone's memory. And, in 2021 as in 2001, the honor and the burden of collecting the condolences and the emotions of the citizens of America and the world has fallen - as far as wrestling is concerned - to SmackDown.
Who found a way to weave a long thread that spanned these twenty years and re-proposed the same segment that the then WWF proposed to fans of 2001. Still dismayed by the collapse of the Twin Towers when the first TV show after the tragedy and the first to once again gather such masses of the public in the stands.
That year the calendar decided that SmackDown should be held on September 13, and the Compaq Center show in Houston, Texas opened with the entire roster standing between the ramp and the ring. No one was in the ring apart from Lilian Garcia, then 35-year-old announcer of the Stamford-based company and who was commissioned to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner", the national anthem of the United States of America.
She did it "a cappella", that is, without the accompaniment of any musical instrument. A genuine and moving interpretation, while the rest of the arena listened in silence and reflected on what had just happened not only in New York and the USA, but to the whole world.
A wonderful Lilian Garcia
Lilian Garcia no longer works for WWE: she left the company about five years ago to be close to her seriously ill mother. However, the decision of the WWE, on the occasion of this tragic anniversary, was as clear as it was right: to recall the one who with her voice had enchanted and made the whole world cry twenty years ago.
And the occasion, once again, was SmackDown. In 2001, the company's then very young blue show (inaugurated about two years earlier) had the colossal responsibility of returning to entertain America and the world just two days after the tragedy.
Twenty years later, it even accompanied America itself and the same world on the eve of a day that no one would like to remember but we all know we cannot forget. And if this year the musical accompaniment (albeit essential) there was, and inevitably the voice of the 55-year-old Lilian Garcia is not as perfect as twenty years ago, the choice is.
Perfect. Because the emotion remains the same, like the involvement of her protagonist. The woman who twenty years ago tried to give strength to wounded America and today is back to remind us how much we have suffered.