Today’s Monday’s Music Moves Me theme is appropriately timed given the date. Songs featured today are 9/11 tribute songs, in remembrance of all those lost and all those who helped during the most heinous attack in U.S. history when nineteen militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks that killed 2,997 people, injured over 6,000 others and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage.
The following songs serve to honor brave souls who will always be thought of as heroes in the wake of this tragedy and to share reactions after the horrid event. For those of you who know me, it should be no surprise that my first song choice honors a 9/11 canine hero. Let’s start with the story of Roselle, the yellow Labrador guide dog:
Roselle by Michael Gaither – Computer sales manager Michael Hingson was at his desk on the 78th floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower on the morning of 9/11 when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the other side of the building, 18 floors above. And he lived to tell the tale because of his guide dog, Roselle.
The yellow lab calmly guided her blind charge and 30 other people down 1,463 steps out of the building. After descending over half the distance, they passed the firemen who were heading up, who Roselle stopped to greet. The descent took just over an hour. Just after they exited the tower, Tower 2 collapsed, sending debris flying. Hingson later said, “While everyone ran in panic, Roselle remained totally focused on her job, while debris fell around us, and even hit us, Roselle stayed calm.” Once clear, Roselle led her owner to the safety of a subway station, where they helped a woman who had been blinded by falling debris. Once they arrived home, Roselle immediately began playing with her retired guide dog predecessor, Linnie, as if nothing important had happened.
A few months after 9/11, after making the talk show rounds with Roselle by his side, Hingson was offered a job as national public affairs director for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Roselle accompanied him on trips around the world until she retired.
In 2004, Roselle was diagnosed with immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, but medications were able to control the condition. In March 2007 she retired from guiding after it was discovered that the medication was beginning to damage her kidneys. She continued to live with Hingson, who was assigned a new guide dog, Africa. On June 24, 2011, Hingson suspected that something was wrong with Roselle and took her to her local vet, who diagnosed her with a stomach ulcer. Roselle died two days later on June 26, at 8:52 pm.
In her memory, Hingson wrote a book of their 9/11 experience entitled Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero and set up Roselle’s Dream Foundation, a 501c3 charitable foundation to raise money to help vision-impaired people engage more fully in everyday life. Roselle went on to be posthumously named American Hero Dog of the Year 2011 by the American Humane Society.
Roselle (March 12, 1998 – June 26, 2011) was born in San Rafael, California, on March 12, 1998, at the Guide Dogs for the Blind. She was moved to Santa Barbara, California, to be raised by Kay and Ted Stern. After this she was returned to Guide Dogs for the Blind so that she could be trained as a guide dog. Roselle and her owner, Michael Hingson, first met on November 22, 1999. She was Hingson’s fifth guide dog.
Here is the song written and recorded by Michael Gaither in Roselle’s honor:
And here’s a live acoustic performance by Michael Gaither:
Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning by Allen Jackson – “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” is a song written by the American singer-songwriter Alan Jackson. It was the lead single from his tenth studio album, Drive (2002). The song’s lyrics center on reactions to the September 11 attacks in the United States, written in the form of questions. Jackson desired to write a song capturing the emotions surrounding the attacks, but found it difficult to do so.
Jackson had finished walking outside and returned indoors to discover news of the attacks on television. He immediately wanted to write a song expressing his thoughts and emotions, but he found it hard to do so for many weeks. “I didn’t want to write a patriotic song,” Jackson said. “And I didn’t want it to be vengeful, either. But I didn’t want to forget about how I felt and how I knew other people felt that day.”
Finally, on the Sunday morning of October 28, 2001, he woke up at 4 a.m. with the melody, opening lines, and chorus going through his mind. He hastily got out of bed, still in his underwear, and sang them into a hand-held digital recorder so he would not forget them. Later that morning, when his wife and children had gone to Sunday school, he sat down in his study and completed the lyrics.
Initially, he felt squeamish about recording it, much less releasing it, because he disliked the idea of capitalizing on a tragedy. But after he played it for his wife Denise and for his producer, Keith Stegall, and it met with their approval, Jackson went into the studio to record “Where Were You” that week. On Stegall’s advice, Jackson played the finished track for a group of executives at his record label. “We just kind of looked at one another,” RCA Label Group chairman Joe Galante said later. “Nobody spoke for a full minute.”
He debuted the song publicly at the Country Music Association’s annual awards show on November 7, 2001. It was released that month as a single and topped the Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart for five weeks; in addition, it reached number 28 on Billboard’s all-genre Hot 100 chart. The song received largely positive reviews from critics, who appreciated its simple, largely apolitical stance. The song won multiple awards at the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association Awards, including Song of the Year, and also earned Jackson his first Grammy Award for Best Country Song.
Tuesday Morning by Melissa Etheridge – “Tuesday Morning” from Melissa Etheridge’s eighth album Lucky is dedicated to the memory of Mark Bingham, his family and friends, paying tribute to all the heroes of 9/11.
Mark Kendall Bingham (May 22, 1970 – September 11, 2001) was an American public relations executive who founded his own company, the Bingham Group. During the September 11 attacks in 2001, he was a passenger on board United Airlines Flight 93. Bingham was among the passengers who, along with Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett and Jeremy Glick, formed the plan to retake the plane from the hijackers, and led the effort that resulted in the crash of the plane into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, thwarting the hijackers plan to crash the plane into a building in Washington, D.C., most likely either the U.S. Capitol Building or the White House.
Both for his presence on United 93, as well as his athletic physique, Bingham has been widely honored posthumously for having “smashed the gay stereotype mold and really opened the door to many others who came after him.”
From Wikipedia: On the morning of September 11, Bingham overslept and nearly missed his flight, on his way to San Francisco to be an usher in his fraternity brother Joseph Salama’s wedding. He arrived at the Terminal A at 7:40am, ran to Gate 17, and was the last passenger to board United Airlines Flight 93, taking seat 4D, next to passenger Tom Burnett.
United Flight 93 was scheduled to depart at 8:00am, but the Boeing 757 did not depart until 42 minutes later due to runway traffic delays. Four minutes later, American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center’s North Tower. Fifteen minutes later, at 9:03 am, as United Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower, United 93 was climbing to cruising altitude, heading west over New Jersey and into Pennsylvania. At 9:25 am, Flight 93 was above eastern Ohio, and pilots Jason Dahl and LeRoy Homer received an alert, “beware of cockpit intrusion,” on the cockpit computer device ACARS (Aircraft Communications and Reporting System). Three minutes later, Cleveland controllers could hear screams over the cockpit’s open microphone. Moments later, the hijackers, led by the Lebanese Ziad Samir Jarrah, took over the plane’s controls, disengaged the autopilot, and told passengers, “Keep remaining sitting. We have a bomb on board”. Bingham and the other passengers were herded into the back of the plane. The curtain between first class and second class had been drawn, at which point the pilot and co-pilot were seen lying dead on the floor just outside the curtain, their throats having been cut. Within six minutes, the plane changed course and was heading for Washington, D.C. Several of the passengers made phone calls to loved ones, who informed them about the two planes that had crashed into the World Trade Center. Bingham phoned his mother, reporting that his plane had been hijacked and relaying his love for her. According to Hoglan, Bingham said: “Hi mom, I love you very much, I’m calling you from the plane. We’ve been taking over. There are three men that say that they have a bomb.”
After the hijackers veered the plane sharply south, the passengers decided to act. Bingham, along with Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett and Jeremy Glick, formed a plan to take the plane back from the hijackers. They were joined by other passengers, including Lou Nacke, Rich Guadagno, Alan Beaven, Honor Elizabeth Wainio, Linda Gronlund, and William Cashman, along with flight attendants Sandra Bradshaw and Cee Cee Ross-Lyles, in discussing their options and voting on a course of action, ultimately deciding to storm the cockpit and take over the plane.
According to the 9/11 Commission Report, after the plane’s voice data recorder was recovered, it revealed pounding and crashing sounds against the cockpit door and shouts and screams in English. “Let’s get them!” a passenger cries. A hijacker shouts, “Allah akbar!” (“God is great”). Jarrah repeatedly pitched the plane to knock passengers off their feet, but the passengers apparently managed to invade the cockpit, where one was heard shouting, “In the cockpit. If we don’t, we’ll die.” At 10:02 am, a hijacker ordered, “Pull it down! Pull it down!” The 9/11 Commission later reported that the plane’s control wheel was turned hard to the right, causing it to roll on its back and plow into an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 580 miles an hour, killing everyone on board. The plane was twenty minutes of flying time away from its suspected target, the White House or the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. According to Vice President Dick Cheney, President George W. Bush had given the order to shoot the plane down had it continued its path to Washington.
Have You Forgotten? by Darryl Worley – “Have You Forgotten?” is a song about the September 11 attacks recorded by American country music artist Darryl Worley, who wrote it with Wynn Varble. It was released in March 2003 as the first single and title track from his 2003 compilation of the same name. It was No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs for seven weeks, reaching it after five weeks on the chart, and peaked at number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it Worley’s biggest mainstream hit.
Darryl Worley and Wynn Varble wrote the song as “sort of a rallying call” in the wake of the events of 9/11 and the early days of the war in Afghanistan. They felt their own patriotic spirits rising and thought, “There’s probably a bunch of people that feel this way. Let’s find out.”
A controversy surrounding the song arose, however, which held that the message contained in it was an accusation that those who disagreed with the US involvement in Afghanistan had “forgotten” about 9/11. Many felt the war would do nothing to help the anti-terrorist cause, and resented the implication.
But Worley maintains that his message was meant as a supportive one for the victims of 9/11, their families, and the veterans and troops whom he so vigorously and actively supports.
Freedom by Paul McCartney – “Freedom” is a song written and recorded by Paul McCartney in response to the September 11 attacks in 2001. McCartney was in New York City at the time of the attacks and witnessed the event while sitting in a plane parked on the tarmac at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport.
McCartney wanted Americans to help their fellow citizens by buying “Freedom” and donated all proceeds to 9/11 victims. He also wrote anonymous checks to several New York police officers to help them with medical recovery.
The song was featured at the Super Bowl XXXVI pregame show with a Statue of Liberty tapestry rising up in the background as a tribute to the victims of 9/11. McCartney performed the song frequently on his 2002 Driving USA Tour, with most of the proceeds from the tour going to victims of 9/11. The song also appeared on the live album Back in the U.S.
Here’s my 9/11 Tribute Songs playlist for continuous play:
Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by JAmerican Spice, Stacy Uncorked and Curious as a Cathy. Be sure to stop by the hosts and visit the other participants.