By Megan Mawicke

EVANSTON (CBS) — Northwestern University is preparing for Saturday’s home opener against Eastern Illinois University on the eve on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.

As CBS 2’s Megan Mawicke reports, while most of the Northwestern Wildcats weren’t even teenagers when the terrorist attacks happened, they got a true object history lesson on Tuesday at practice.

The Wildcats are feeling pretty good about themselves, with an impressive win over Boston College in their season opener, their 7th straight season opening victory.

But they’re keeping perspective. It is just one game.

“I like the way we practiced today. We looked like a team that understood what we did well and what we didn’t do well on Saturday against Boston College and we worked hard to improve it today. We have to keep working at it,” said Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald.

As Northwestern gears up for their battle against Eastern Illinois on Saturday, football took a bit of a back seat on Tuesday, with the 10th anniversary of 9/11 coming up.

Making an appearance at practice on Tuesday was the New York Fire Department’s “Rescue 4” fire truck. It was the lone “rescue” rig that remained operational during and after the September 11th attacks.

“This rig went to World Trade Center that day and all eight firefighters were lost that day. It is important to us to share the experience and carry the remembrance of 9/11 further,” said Skokie firefighter Chris Gantz.

“I was in 7th grade at the time. I think the memorial of 9/11 makes you appreciate what you’ve got and were just playing football here. There have been some tragic things in this country and were just lucky to have people like that defending it,” said Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa.

“We get to play football today in beautiful 72 degree weather in Evanston and we have people out there, sleeping in mud and sand. It is our small little way of saying thank you pretty special opportunity for us today and humbling to see,” said Fitzgerald.

This week hits home even more for linebacker Bryce McNaul, whose brother is in the military in Afghanistan right now.

“It’s always in the back of his head, as I am sure it is all the men and women serving our country. This Saturday is Heroes’ Day at Northwestern but Heroes’ Day is every day for me and my family,” McNaul said. “And I urge everyone to make every day Heroes’ Day and lift those men and women up in their thoughts and prayers.”

Rescue 4 will also be at Saturday’s home opener. They are hoping to educate young kids about 9/11 and raise money for children of fallen firefighters. It should be an emotional and inspiring day for everyone including the Wildcats.

For more information about Rescue 4’s “Remembrance Rescue Project,” you can go to

The remembrance Rescue Project is a not-for-profit organization created by firefighters to preserve awareness to the significance of 9/11 through the stories from FDNY Rescue Co. 4. RRP provides support to children of fallen firefighters, while working to restore FDNY Rescue 4 from 9/11 as an educational tool, historical artifact and memorial.

Watch & Listen LIVE