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Remembering 911 in song

Jennifer Moonsong

Division Publisher

Metcalfe and Barren


Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?

This year is the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. It seems nearly impossible in the passage of time that two decades have flown by. It is undeniable that the events of that day changed America in a palpable way that we still feel each day as American citizens. Like a phoenix from the ashes, we rose as a proud American Eagle, draped in the stripes and the stars, but not without scars.

For me, life is greatly about the silver lining. One of the silver linings on the dark cloud of 911 is that it inspired songs, and that those songs were an expression of who we the people are. My personal favorite is Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You,” that shed light on the multitude of human responses to such tragedy. However, there were many other wonderful songs that came from those tragic times.

Here are just a few:

Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” spoke for the angry American.

Steve Earle’s “Ashes to Ashes”

Garth Brooks “The Change”

Paul McCartney’s “Freedom”

Chris Cornell’s “Ground Zero”

Darryl Worley’s “Have you Forgotten?”

The Eagles’ “Hole in the World”

And so many more.

If you recall, as I’m sure many of you do, in the days following the events at Ground Zero grocery stores, airport terminals, gas stations, and the like played a constant, lyrical US patriotic music on the speakers overhead. It was somber, and it was chilling.

The fact that people rose up to write words and sing them in honor and in homage to 911, speaks of the goodness of people and the desire to create. I listen to all of these songs and more each September 11th.

Whatever your tradition is each year, use it as a means to never forget. 20 years seems like a long time, but in reality it is the blink of an eye, and before we know it another 20 shall pass. The only thing that needs to remain unchanged is our remembrance.


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