Unhappy Birthday

My children and the Freedom Tower site - they've all grown a lot since this day in 2006.

The events of September 11, 2001 touched each person in a different way. Some cried. Some made drastic life decisions. Poems, essays and stories were written. And of course, songs were composed.

I vividly remember driving to pick up my very young children from school one afternoon, not long after the tragic day, and hearing a song come on the radio that made me weep so hard I had to circle the block to compose myself.  Even to this day, every time I hear Alan Jackson’s Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning, I have to fight back emotion. The rawness of that time hit very hard. The vulnerability I felt, as the mother of four young children, will never be forgotten.

It was an even deeper wound to those who lived in the areas affected by the terrorist acts. New Yorkers will always remember where they were “that day” and how it changed their lives. I recently wrote about my musical friend, Paul Guzzone, who has a music business in New York City, and is a member of the Bacon Brothers Band. On the one year anniversary of 9/11, brothers Michael and Kevin (who also live in New York City) wrote their own tribute to the day, and called it Unhappy Birthday.  The band put it on their White Knuckles CD, released three years later. It’s a birthday they never like to celebrate.

Now, ten years later, they decided to revisit the song. They filmed a new internet video, and updated the words to commemorate this especially touching unhappy birthday. I thought it might be worth sharing, as we spend the next few days remembering, and talking about how that day changed us all.

My daughter and I were down in New York City on Thursday and we stopped by to see the progress being made on the Freedom Tower. In the five years we’ve lived here we’ve watched it go from being a huge pit in the ground, to an amazing structure, reflecting the sun.

Rising from the ashes.

Some day it will stand its full height and I’ll go back down to see it, fighting tears the whole time. Construction moves on. Our country moves on. History has been made and now we’re all learning how to live from it and grow from it.

I’m wishing you much peace, wherever you are on this Unhappy Birthday, but birthday nonetheless. I hope you find yourself surrounded by people you love and care about. And if you have the opportunity, take a minute to follow a suggestion from the Bacon Brothers song, and don’t forget to “light a candle.”

 

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