Do you remember where you were on the morning of 11 September 2001? Do you remember your reactions as you listened to and watched the various news broadcasts that day?
It was a day that began as any other, with people moving about here and there, going about their normal daily routines. No one could have possibly imagined that the day would soon become written in the annals of history as a somber day of remembrance.
Many youths perhaps were not yet born or were too young to recall the horrific events that occurred a little more than a decade and a half ago. On that dreadful day, many innocent men women, and children became fallen victims because of the vicious attacks that penetrated the shores of the “land of the free, and the home of the brave.” They were husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters. All were gone too soon as their lives were snubbed out like a candle blowing in the wind, but none would soon be forgotten. The shock waves from the horrific events of that day would be felt around the world.
On 8 September 2017, the American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic released a moving and uplifting 11 September 2001 Tribute music video called “Hymn to the Innocent” by Rob Gardner. The description of the video makes mention of the fact that many of the musicians were not even born when the tragedies of 11 September 2001 took place, however, they masterfully use their talents to spread a message of hope and peace while paying tribute and providing solace to those who still mourn as they remember that bleak September day.
Kayson Brown, Director of the American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic, commented, “I can’t tell you how much making this video impacted my students. They learned and felt things about September 11th, 2001 that I’m not sure they could have learned any other way. Music writes on their hearts the messages that no history book can truly capture.”
Realistic scenes that portray the day of 11 September 2001 as the day progressed are intertwined with the somber music. The video opens with a person running along the beach as the ocean waves reach the shore representing a care-free atmosphere – that this day was like any other day. We see husbands and fathers leaving for work, children leaving for school, and people in the city heading to their destinations. And then, in a moment, without any warning, tragedy struck. At 8:46:30 a.m. in New York City, American Flight 11 crashed at a speed of roughly 466 mph (790 km/h) into the north face of the North Tower (1 WTC) of the World Trade Center, between floors 93 and 99.
In the video, we see a person emerging from the car he was riding in, a teacher holds a student and looks to the sky, another turns on the newscast – all in shock and disbelief of what had just happened. All were left wondering how such a thing could happen. Was it an accident? As people tried to process what was going on, in a matter of minutes, at approximately 9:03:02 a.m. Flight 175 crashed at a speed of roughly 590 mph (950 km/h) into the south face of the South Tower (2 WTC) of the World Trade Center, banked between floors 77 and 85. As unbelievable and as unfathomable as it may have seemed, America, “the land of the free and the home of the brave”, was under attack.
Also, in the video, we see scenes with the American Heritage Youth Chorus under the direction of Rob Swenson reverently and serenely singing a chorus representing the attitude of people in the aftermath of the horrific events that had occurred. On that fatal day of 11 September 2001, and in the following days, the air was permeated with fear and uncertainty as people began coming together to support and comfort one another as best they could. Peoples of all different faiths, denominations, no religious ties at all, races, cultures, and backgrounds joined together in unified prayer for solace and peace in a situation that was seemingly out of control. The attacks had ended, but not without the cost of the innocent lives of loved ones.
The events of that somber day in September had sent a wakeup call to people everywhere that we as a nation are not as invincible as we may think, and that the survival of the nation depends on everyone binding together and working together, and not as individuals on lonely deserted islands. Regardless of a person’s beliefs, it was evident that someone of higher power and authority had preserved our nation on that tragic day and sustained those of us who now remain to forever remember 11 September 2001.
For those of us who remember, and especially for those who still mourn, the words of the Psalmist are a healing balm:
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? The wicked cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation. Their sword shall plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming. The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken (Psalm 27:1; 37:12-15).