I don’t have anything profound to add to the many comments and editorials you are going to see and hear today. All of you fine readers that come to Popdose frequent the site for the wit and insight of the talented writers who work here (for free). And of course, there is the music. On 9/11/01, for many of you, music became a way to block out the horrors we were witnessing, a way to heal, and a way to pay tribute to the fallen heroes of that day.
Seven years after the attacks on New York City and Washington DC, and on United Flight 93, I am still saddened by the loss of life. While I was not directly affected by these acts of terrorism, it still haunts me. I am saddened not just for the lives of the victims riding in those planes or unfortunate enough to be at their work desks, but also for the policemen, firemen, EMT workers, and volunteers who were trapped in those collapsing buildings as they tried to do their jobs and save lives.
I don’t know anybody who died that day, yet on that morning and the days that followed, we were all brothers and sisters, a family, for a brief spell. Sadly, the attacks soon became propaganda. Each time a politician tries to use the 9/11/01 attacks for their own agenda, it is a vile, disrespectful act that should be silenced immediately. I have no tolerance for this and neither should you.
Like many of you, I’m sure, I had never heard of John Ondrasik or his stage name, Five for Fighting, before the Concert for New York City, held in late October of 2001. At that time, I had stopped listening to rock and roll radio stations, partly out of protest for the way the radio corporations imposed self-censorship and began taking songs out of their rotations, and partly because I was consumed by the news and wanting to know what was being done and whether we would be safe that night. At the time, Julie was very pregnant with Jacob, and we were also concerned about whether she would have to deliver early. Thus, I didn’t even watch much of the live Concert for New York City simulcast. However, I found myself in front of the television when Ondrasik came out to perform his song “Superman (It’s Not Easy).” I stood transfixed as his lilting voice silenced the huge concert arena and men were openly crying.
World events have a way of changing the context of songs; our lives have a way of changing the context of songs. And so, Ondrasik’s ode to the man of steel, from his record America Town (released almost a year before the attacks) became an anthem to those heroes I mentioned earlier. Since 9/11/01, songs and albums have been released as tributes and commentaries about the attacks and the aftermath. Yet, when 9/11 rolls around each year, I always return to Springsteen’s The Rising and Five for Fighting’s “Superman (It’s Not Easy).”
My nine-year-old daughter, Sophie, has begun asking questions about “nine eleven,” and I know I am going to struggle as I try to explain why terrible men took the lives of so many innocent people. It doesn’t make sense to me; how is it going to make sense to a little girl? Perhaps I’ll play her this song so that she understands that despite the evil in the world, there are heroes who walk among us.