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WATCH: NFL pays tribute to 9/11 victims during Buccaneers-Cowboys national anthem

The NFL started its season Thursday evening when the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted the Dallas Cowboys.

The NFL’s opener comes just two days before the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks that killed thousands of Americans.

This entire week will be defined by the league paying tribute to those who perished in Washington D.C., New York City and Pennsylvania two decades ago.

That started immediately ahead of kick off between the Buccaneers and Cowboys with the NFL honoring a man by the name of Jake Cayne who perished on that fateful September day what seems to be eons ago.

That was followed by a stirring performance from Grammy Award winning R&B artist Michelle Williams.