SPARKS, Md. — Lacrosse lived up to its Native American moniker as a medicine game Sunday, especially for the 42 New York City firefighters and police officers that commemorated the 15th anniversary of 9/11 by playing in a memorial game at US Lacrosse's grand opening of its new headquarters.

NYPD's Finest defeated FDNY's Bravest 13-5 to cap the tripleheader that also featured U.S. women's and men's national team intra-squad exhibitions and drew 1,200 lacrosse supporters to the 12-acre campus in Sparks, Md. Katie Schwarzmann scored the game-winning goal to give the Blue team a 17-16 win in the women's game and Matt Danowski had three goals and five assists to lead the Blue team to a 15-13 win in the men's game.

Joseph Stroessenreuther (Farmingdale State) scored five goals for the Finest, while John Antoniades (Hofstra) contributed one goal and three assists. Kristian Prior led the Bravest with three goals.

The day's events included dedications of the IWLCA Building, William G. Tierney Field, the Richard M. Moran Gallery of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and Museum and the 9/11 Memorial Garden.

"This is a time of remembrance, but also renewal of hope for our future," said Bonnie McEneaney, the wife of Hall of Famer and former Cornell great Eamon McEneaney, who perished in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. "Because you are here, you round out the circle."

For FDNY Lt. John Fee, 54, there is no forgetting 9/11. Fee, stationed at Division 15 in Brooklyn, was among the first responders to aid in the rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center. He keeps with him the key to handcuffs he recovered from the body of a police officer who tried to use them to dig himself out of the rubble and a silver dollar he found on an unidentifiable woman who was bisected by a steel beam.

"We spent the next four days thinking we were making a difference, trying to rescue people. And we did here and there, but it never goes away. It's always there," Fee said. "Every firehouse you go in, there's a reminder of the importance of what you're doing."

Fee's brothers, Frank, an official in Sunday's game, and Tommy also were at ground zero in the aftermath of the attacks. Frank Fee's special operations unit, FDNY Rescue 1, lost 11 firefighters.

John Fee also had developed a friendship with NYPD Officer Ronnie Kloepfer, crossing rivalry lines to assemble a joint lacrosse team to compete at a tournament in Chicago later that week. They talked on the phone Sept. 10. Kloepfer, who founded the NYPD lacrosse team in 1993, died rescuing workers from the World Trade Center the next day.

NYPD players wore Kloepfer's initials and number, RK7, on their helmets Sunday and responded with "RK7" at the end of each huddle. Officers Sean Rooney and Dennis Kenefick, former St. John's teammates, presented Kloepfer's wife, Dawn, and his daughter, Jamie, with a blue No. 7 Finest jersey after the game.

NYPD Officers Sean Rooney (22) and Dennis Kenefick (6) present a No. 7 jersey to the late Ronnie Kloepfer's wife, Dawn, and daughter, Jamie, after Sunday's 9/11 Memorial Game at the US Lacrosse headquarters in Sparks, Md. (Matt DaSilva)

"It's a great feeling to play in memory of Ronnie. He did everything for us. It was devastating to lose him," Kenefick said. "Sean worked at the precinct that it happened in. When I heard the first plane hit, I went in. I was underneath when the second plane hit. It's very hard to watch the news every [anniversary]. It's good that we can come together with the fire department and play the sport that we love. It makes you think about it, but it also gets your mind off of it."

Fee found it difficult to get his mind off of it, however, especially as he came off the field wheezing and had a coughing spell that briefly caught the attention of medical personnel before he said he was OK. More than 3,700 ground zero responders and survivors have been afflicted with 9/11-linked cancers, according to the New York Post, including 1,100 firefighters.

Fee got pneumonia in 2001 and could no longer run a mile in less than 10 minutes. Before 9/11, he could run four miles in 30 minutes, a 7:30 pace.

"We're losing guys every year. They're dying of cancer. I'm petrified," Fee said. "So I live like today is the last day I got. ... That's how I honor them. I keep going."