FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- You might say football begins as a game of chance. Strategies aside, you never know the outcome before the teams meet on the field.
Even the first play is determined by a coin toss.
Only, this wasn't any given Saturday.
And in referee Joe Horn's hand wasn't any given coin.
"Show them to your teammates," he told each team's captains. "Reflect upon our country, our liberties, our freedom, what it means to you."
The Washington Officials Association is observing the tenth anniversary of the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks with a special 9/11 coin flipped at the beginning of each high school football game in Washington this weekend.
"It says 'Never Forget,'" said Nick Bod, football team captain for Todd Beamer High School. "It's just engraved in our minds even though we were young kids."
On this weekend, it's a gesture especially meaningful to Beamer High students.
"It really brings a lot of pride to our school," said senior Sam Kosbab.
Indeed, most of these kids were between four and eight years old when, by chance, Todd Beamer got a phone call through from United Flight 93 over Pennsylvania. Most don't remember the day he and the other passengers took the chance to recapture the plane from the terrorists.
"I was at my grandparent's house getting dropped off for the morning and I just remember my grandma crying when she told me about it," said Bod, "because my dad was on a plane but going to Florida... so she was really scared."
But it is no coincidence Beamer's last words "Let's Roll" are etched both at a school in Federal Way and in the American psyche.
"That's everything, that's our school's motto, it's on all of our shirts, it means everything to us," said Kosbab.
Open in 2003, Beamer High was the first school in the country named after a victim of the Sept. 11.
"It's in the heart," said Bod.
Because a coin toss can determine who goes first, but as those proudly bearing Beamer's name will tell you, heroes aren't the type who leave their fate to chance.