Throughout the 20th century, there have been attacks on presidents, plane crashes and other tragic events.
However, yesterday was different. The world of sports has taken a back seat to national politics.
Every major sport cancelled its sporting events yesterday, an unheard of step that went against history, for there have been other times where it would have been prudent to halt the world of sports.
Just five years ago, the Olympic park bombing shook the Summer Games to their core. But they played on the next day. Other sports also played that same day, with only heightened security as the major difference.
In 1995, Timothy McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma City Federal Building. While it was a national disaster, sports continued.
'When the Oklahoma City tragedy took place, baseball went on,' said Jim Schultz, spokesman for the Atlanta Braves on ESPN.com. 'It was an isolated incident that involved one [terrorist]. This is different. This is war.'
In 1981, President Ronald Reagan and his security guard Jim Brady were shot in broad daylight, just hours before the 1981 NCAA Final Four championship game. After some debate, the game went on.
Finally, students may not remember this, but for faculty and staff as well as parents, the day President John F. Kennedy was shot is still as vivid as ever.
After the news came down that Kennedy was dead, the American Football League announced that they were cancelling all their games that Sunday out of respect to the fallen president.
However, the National Football League, led by Commissioner Pete Rozelle, announced that the games should go on. Despite vehement protests to cancel the games, the NFL played on.
Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen told the other commissioners and his staff Tuesday that playing games this week would be akin to the NFL playing games when Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. College football took that November Saturday off, but the NFL still played games and took a hit publicly for doing so.
Years later, in retrospect, the commissioner regretted his decision. Out of all the correct decisions that Rozelle made during his tenure, his decision to play that weekend haunted him until the day he died.
The sentiments are also shared by coaches of major football programs in the Midwest.
Ohio State, for example, plays at home Saturday against San Diego State. Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel is concerned about having a football team travel across the country for a game.
'We sit here thinking that it puts a lot less importance on Saturday,' Tressel said. 'You say to yourself, 'Who's going to be getting on airplanes to go play each other right now'? All of that races through your mind.'
These events are certainly not of the magnitude of Tuesday's events, and I would like to underscore that. The examples above are to enhance the seriousness and the magnitude of yesterday's events.
And that is the biggest difference of all.