Monday, September 12, 2011
I, like most people lately, have taken some time to think about what happened a little over 10 years ago. I remember when I first heard the news. I was on the Embassy bus on the way home from school in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and an American guy who was a few years older than me had printed off a picture of the two towers in flames; I didn't believe it. I spent the next few hours using our painfully slow internet connection to search for news. What's hard for me to believe today is that I didn't see footage of the planes bowling into the towers until over a year later.
So much has been said about what the attacks represented, how we responded, where we are now...As with any tragedy, music has a healing power that cannot be underestimated. With most major moments of the past 50 years, music has both shaped our insights and guided our opinions, and although I can think of no song about 9/11, many songs can be associated with it. Although somewhat overdone, seeing U2 at the Super Bowl halftime show with the running list of names was undeniably powerful. At Sunday's memorial, Paul Simon sang his classic "The Sound of Silence," originally written after the assassination of JFK. The song was pitch perfect for the memorial, its emphasis on the absence of human communication resonating with a tragedy that happened, in some parts, because of a perverse desire to send a message. Sung by the timeless Simon, this jamandahalf reinvents itself again, as only the best ones do.
Click here to download an acoustic version of "The Sound of Silence"