The attack on the Twin Towers in New York City 20 years ago launched over 150 songs from artists ranging from Eminem to Bruce Springsteen to Tori Amos to Beónce, and over a 100 other artists. At the same time, it also led to a Clear Channel (now I Heart Radio) to attempt to block over 150 songs from its over 1200 stations, including such radical tunes as “Walk Like an Egyptian,” (because of its references to the Middle East, as if censorship could make 20% of the earth disappear); John Lennon’s “Imagine”; Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”; and Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York”– an effort that eventually failed.
Now that we are remembering that terrible event two decades past, other artists are stepping forward with music to keep the memory alive and uplift our souls, including songs like the emotional Where were You When (the world stopped turning) by Alan Jackson. Spotify has posted various playlists and retrospectives, like My Eve Proposal’s 9 hours 11 songs punk album from the 9/11 tenth anniversary to help us remember.
But one song came across my desk this week that really struck me, not only because of its ability to mesh country sensibility with larger anthemic music, but because of the approach it takes of viewing the 9/11 attacks through the eyes of the Statue of Liberty who “watched” the attack from across the harbor. The song is “The Day the Lady Cried” written by John Vento and performed by the Nied’s Hotel Band, with guest vocalist Ronda Zegarelli, and the Voices from Heaven Choir.
Originally released in 2002 it has been re-released with a new perspective. The original was used in raising money for the U.S. Parks Department to fund the Flight 93 Memorial Campaign in Shanksville, PA. The song memorials the event without trivializing it with maudlin lyrics or a super patriotic screed. Vento does it in a country voice with a rock anthem feel – a way to gather all Americans together to understand the violence of the attack, but the resilience of our nation.
While the lyrics speak of anger and war – how could they not – they also reminds us that the heart of America, beating in the breast of The Lady who watched the attack from across the harbor, is – when we are at our best – full of good and “Comforting the World”.
As we think back to that day, and look forward to a new day without the 20-year war in Afghanistan that 9/11 kicked off, The Day the Lady Cried helps us honor the past and think about pulling Americans together like we were on 9/11 to live the ideals The Lady represents. That is the power of music.
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