Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 268- Alan Jackson

Yes, Denard Robinson tickled me maize and blue today with his 500 yards of offense.  Yes, Michigan football pleased and amazed me today with a big win in an instant classic game.  No, I'm not going to elaborate on either of those things any further at this time.  My hope is that there will be plenty of time for that this season.

On this day nine years ago, I woke up, showered, and went to my psychology seminar.  I had been living in Ann Arbor for less than a month, and I was just settling into a routine of classes and studying and football Saturdays and all of the other fabulous things that come with college.  That day started just like every other day of that week and of that month and of that semester.

I quickly discovered when I left my psych class that morning that it would not just be any other day in a string of days.  People were running around frantically saying that classes were cancelled, and everyone should just go home.  I was confused.  I had another class.  After hearing this from multiple people, including professor-looking people, I started to walk home.  I tried to use my cell phone to figure out what in the world was going on, but it wasn't working.

When I got back to my dorm, I found doors open up and down every hallway with footage of planes crashing into the Twin Towers.  I found people in total shock.  I found a girl in my hall from New York who was sobbing and redialing in a frantic pattern. 

Then, I remembered that my dad was supposed to fly that day.  Or was he?  Oh my gosh... was he flying that day?

Even though I knew he was supposed to be traveling from Texas or somewhere southern back up to Detroit and would be nowhere around New York, I was terrified.  If people could fly planes into the heart of New York City, there was no telling what else might be happening.

Everything turned out just fine for us.  My dad eventually got home safely.  I spent the evening at a candlelight vigil, and my sister and I went to church the next day.  We went home that weekend to spend time with our family, and things returned to normal within a week.

However, I will never forget that day.  I won't forget it because so many other people did not have the luxury that I did of simply going back to their lives.  We remember these people on this day each year-- heroes and mothers and fathers and friends and husbands and wives and Americans of all ethnicities and religions and orientations.  Tragedy knows no color or gender or religion and neither does heroism. 

I also remember September 11 every time I hear "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" by Alan Jackson.  It is an incredibly beautiful song written about the day and the reactions of everyday Americans.  The lyrics bring tears to my eyes every time I hear them-- including one time when I was eating lunch in my car at a Sonic (I'm not sure who was more embarrassed... me or the girl bringing me my ketchup).  I listened to the song a whole bunch of times today and relished in the message.  It always makes me think about the kinds of things we should do and the way we should treat each other-- not just in the face of tragedy, but every single day. 



Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day

Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA
Did you stand there in shock at the site of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry

Did you weep for the children
Who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below

Did you burst out in pride
For the red white and blue
The heroes who died just doing what they do
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself to what really matters


I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love


Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Teaching a class full of innocent children
Driving down some cold interstate
Did you feel guilty cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her
Did you dust off that bible at home


Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Speak with some stranger on the street
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watching
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns


Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger
Stand in line and give your own blood
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love


I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love


The greatest is love
The greatest is love


Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?

Thank you, Alan Jackson for the constant reminder, for your message full of love and void of hate, and...

Thank you, Alan Jackson, you made my day.






   

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