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Reflections in Song Playlist for September 11, 2011

We asked you to help us to mark the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001 by sharing a musical selection with all of our listeners. And you responded. Here is the full list of songs we'll be playing from 6-8am on September 11, and many of the other suggestions we received as well. Thanks for being a part of this special program.

6:00am
Peace Piece by Bill Evans
"It reminds me of how much harder we need to work on human relations, to reach peace within ourselves."
–Charles in Everett, MA

6:07am
Can the Circle Be Unbroken by The Carter Family
"All of life goes on even through the hardest of times."
– Judi in Winchester, MA

6:13am
September When It Comes by Rosanne and Johnny Cash
"How the dying transcend death, and the surviving remember them."
– Maryanne in Irmo, SC

6:18am
Down to the River to Pray by Alison Krauss (from the motion picture O Brother, Where Art Thou)
"The soulful, soft sound of this song not only echos some of the emotions of the aftermath of that terrible day, but specifically reminds me of my friend and neighbor with whom I saw the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou, just days before she took American flight 11 [which crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center] on 9/11."
– Norma in Wayland, MA

6:24am
Amazing Grace played by the FDNY Pipes and Drums
"Although the stream of funerals with this bagpipe music didn't start until after 9/11, I will always think of it as linked."
– Christine in Monroe, CT

6:28am
New York, New York performed by Cat Power
"A great version of a great song about a great city."
– Paul in Holliston, MA

6:31am
New York State Of Mind by Billy Joel
– Paul in Boston, MA

6:39am
Wide River to Cross by Levon Helm
"I have always been inspired by music from the Band. Levon Helm's amazing recovery from throat cancer to play, sing, and win 2 Grammies for American Roots music is an inspirational story of coming back from the depths. This sweet Gospel ballad talks about being only half way home with still a wide river to cross. I think about this as we recover and rebuild from horrors like 9/11."
– Larry in Boston, MA

6:47am
(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding performed by Elvis Costello
– WGBH Staff

6:50am
Sand and Water by Beth Nielsen Chapman
"The lyrics say it all; it's just a beautiful song about grieving, and moving on"
– Meg in Newtonville, MA

6:54am
Walk On by U2 (from the album All That You Can't Leave Behind)
"This album had come out in 2001 but the meaning of the whole album changed for me when September 11 happened. It really helped me get through that time and I will always remember it for that. "
– Jessica in Ashland, MA

7:00am
Let It Be by The Beatles
– Ben in Newton, MA

7:05am
Good Night, New York by Julie Gold (performed by Nanci Griffith and Emmylou Harris)
"This is a wonderfully written song about the legacy of our 'melting pot' society and how we move forward together, leaving our parents' traditions behind. The fact that it has to do with NYC makes it all the more poignant."
– Katie

7:12am
O-O-H Child by The Five Stairsteps
"Amid darkness there is always hope."
– Jean in Lowell, MA

7:17am
American Tune by Paul Simon (Performed by Simon & Garfunkel Live in Central Park)
"The first time I made the connection was about three months after September 11th, when I sat down at my piano to try to learn this song. I ended up sobbing. It was then I realized I had a lot more grieving to do."
– Kathleen in Everett, MA

7:24am
Imagine by John Lennon
"I remember a very talented music instructor from my high school performing this at our school's 9/11 assembly the day after the terrorist attacks. I think of that day every time I hear it."
– Veronica in Castro Valley, CA

It is all about a world of love and peace, it belongs to any play list in honor of 9/11.  Thank yo
– Debbie in Westwood, MA

7:28am
Turn! Turn! Turn! by The Byrds
"Beautiful and gripping rendition of a profound philosophical statement set to simple yet powerful music. A song that can have meaning any time, and especially amid turmoil and uncertainty. "
– Larry

7:32am
Gentel Hum by The Finn Brothers
"This song always gives me goosebumps and has amazing resonance with this event, I think."
– Paul

7:41am
Don't Carry It All by The Decemberists
– WGBH Staff

7:46am
On That Day by Leonard Cohen
– WGBH Staff

7:52am
My City of Ruins by Bruce Springsteen
"Speaks to the fortitude of the human spirit in the face of unspeakable loss"
– Donna in Providence, RI

"The enormity of this heinous and horrific attack on NYC and US remains with us ten years later. It continues to cause pain to US in so many ways.
– John in Dedham, MA

7:57am
This Land is Your Land by Woody Guthrie
– WGBH Staff

7:59am
Hymn Page 911 performed by Peter Ostroushko
"This piece was written by Peter Osroushko, who sent to me as a melody; I arranged it for mandolin and guitar. In the following years we have played it many times on our international tours. In Sydney, Australia, the audience was totally silent; afterwards a woman came up to us in tears to thank us. The piece has had similar results in Spain, France, the Netherlands as well as in the US. There seems to us that there is an international sense of sharing in this particular US tragedy."
– Peter in North Grosvenordale, CT

More Listener Suggestions




September 12, 2001 by Jim O'Connor
"I am a Boston area musician and leader of the group Boston Blackthorn, a celtic band. Ten years ago I found myself in New York City on the morning of September 12.  I began several weeks of grief counseling as part of an employee assistance program.  Through this I met and heard the stories of hundreds of people affected in many ways by this tragedy.  This song is featured on the 911memorial.org artist registry.  Here is the link: http://registry.national911memorial.org/view_artist.php?aid=1120.  When I sing this song at the memorial for 9/11 in Holyoke, MA I will be thinking of these memories and also of my brother and sister in law Tom and Jean O'Connor who were first FBI responders at the Pentagon and have spent a great deal of time in Iraq and Afghanistan during the past 10 years. I think you will find it meaningful, thanks for doing this special tribute."
–Jim O'Connor in Natick, MA

Beethoven's Symphony No. 7
"This music expresses the cataclysmic tragedy that occurred. As you listen, you can the impending urgency heroic people felt trying to help or bring help to the victims.  After September 11th, I spoke to a New York Firefighter who told me that there were several Firefighters who had the day off on Sept. 11th, and went to Staten Island to play golf. While their families thought the firefighters were playing golf, the firefighters saw the Tower burning. Immediately, the firefighters left the Golf Course, and went to the towers.   Tragically, those firefighters, who left the golf course and sacrificed their lives to help the victims, became the victims.  A few months after September 11th, a friend asked me, "'Where was God on this day?'" My reply, "'God was in the heart and soul of every selfless person who helped the victims that day. In particular, I recalled the firefighters who had left the golf course and went to the towers to help the victims.'" Those heroic firefighters were running into harm's way (without a thought for themselves) to save lives, and lost their lives.
–Marie in Midlothian, VA

We Are The World, We Are The People by Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder and others
–Carol in Boston, MA

God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood
"It represents the life career my husband chose as a U.S. Marine and his courage serving at Pentagon on 9/11. He loves country music! Semper fidelis!"
–Diana in Colorado Springs, CO

Rockin' USA compiled by Keith Lockhart
"This was performed at this year's 4th of July Spectacular and from what I could see, it was a great crowd pleaser."
–Lynn in Woburn, MA

Merry Christmas From Heaven by John William Mooney Jr.
"This song connects us to the love that lives in our hearts by helping us to further understand that love never dies. Written and performed by John William Mooney Jr, the song includes every line of the poem ""Merry Christmas From Heaven," an ornament that was quietly given to the family of every first responder and port authority member who gave their life on September 11th.  Thanks to the help of the Manhattan borough president's office, NYC Fire Department, NYC Police Union, and Port Authority Commander."
–Kristan in Norton, MA

America the Beautiful performed by The Boston Pops or The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
"I remember working in a public school system on that fateful day. I happened to be in the office when the principal asked for volunteers to sing the song over the P.A. system. I jumped at the chance and now whenever I hear this song it reminds me of the way that song bonded the whole school together. "
–Lynn in Woburn, MA

Theme for the Common Man by Aaron Copeland
"This, to me, embodies a song that encompasses everybody. "
–Lynn in Woburn, MA

So Here's To You by Mary Black
"This song meant so much to me when my dad passed three years ago. The hope that we will all be together again is so comforting.  Perhaps this song will bring comfort to others as it did for me."
–Geri in Holden, MA

Time performed by Tori Amos (covering Tom Waits)
"My friend Rose never ate breakfast.  We always told her, most important meal of the day and all that.  But she always skipped it.  So, on the early morning of September 11, she was coming back to school (Sarah Lawrence, in NYC) from her boyfriend's place on Long Island.  She was just about to get on the train when - for the first time in her life, probably - she decided it would be a good idea to buy a muffin from the lady at the station.  As she got her coin purse out to pay for her breakfast, wouldn't you know it, she missed the 8:00 train.  That train, by the way, used to run right underneath the World Trade Center. Now I don't know if the train was stuck under the building, or if it was just stuck on the tracks for hours and hours, but either way, Rose was saved from a really bad day by the fact that, for once in her life, she listened to us and ate breakfast in the morning.  Tori's "Strange Little Girls" album - where this song comes from - came out one week later.  Rose was, and is, a huge Tori fan, and the fact that she got to hear it might have had a lot to do with that muffin. Most important meal of the day, you know."
–Andy in Lexington, MA

Angel by Sarah McLauchlan
"I believe it came out a year or two before September 11, 2001. I think of that awful day whenever I hear or play that song - thats all.  My daughter was supposed to go into the city that day for a job interview, I believe, but something came up and she never made it into the city of New York. Thank God for that, anyway!"
–Marianne in Norwich, CT

Track 4  by Sigur Ros
"This song plays at the end of Cameron Crowe's 2002 film, "Vanilla Sky." During the sequence at the end of the film where this song is playing, Tom Cruise is on the roof of a skyscraper in NYC and you can see the WTC towers in the background.  This song, that movie, and the image of the WTC across the NYC skyline are intermingled in my mind. Hauntingly beautiful."
–Greg in Boston, MA

New York by Rakim
"Everything great about new york delivered in hi-tech dialect."
–Brian in Boston, MA

Kol Nidre arranged by Max Bruch
–Boston, MA

Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber
–Boston, MA

Pachelbel's Canon played by Kool Hand Uke
"Walking into Barnes & Noble in Kahala, Oahu, I felt my heart and breathing slow to the pure, clean sound of a stringed instrument. What is this rendition of Pachelbel's Canon? I asked the young man in music and found it was a local artist on the ukulele. How could this be? You have to hear it to believe it. An infusion of peace from a four string instrument. Recalled Honolulu those few days after 9/11: American flags flying from condos, LeMonde headline: WE ARE ALL AMERICANS, kindness and grace, real 'aloha,' to all, to this haole visitor at the local supermarket from Hawaiian strangers. This, almost a decade before moving to the Cape, falling in love with a woman hiking in Kauai, marrying, still in love eight years later.  This before G.W. Bush perverts history, distorts reality, plunges our warriors into the abyss. We all need peace; now, as my wife and I experience Oahu, returning as visitors, I will play Kool Hand Uke, we will have a moment of deep peace to the transformative sound of a ukulele."
– Sebastian in Honolulu, HI

The Adagietto from Mahler's 5th Symphony
"One of the most beautiful pieces of music.  Sad yet hopeful."
– Susan in Northborough, MA

If I Could by Pat Metheny Group
"This song has always encompassed the feelings, sentiments and mood of a person who is giving their final words of wisdom to another. Its not a somber instrumental, but rather a song that reminds us that we should strive in not having 'if I could' moments but rather, 'when I did.'"
– Rhonda in Myrtle Beach, SC

There She Stands by Michael W. Smith
"An engaging song that goes to the heart of how it feels to witness a terrorist attack,
go through the rubble, find and lift up the American flag and the pride we have in our country."
– Judy

The Fuse by Bruce Springsteen (Terrence Blanchard Remix)
"This music was composed for Spike Lee's film 25th Hour, and played over the opening credits – a 9/11 commemoration featuring the Tribute in Light."
– Maria in Wellesley Hills, MA

Land of the Living by Lucy Kaplansky
"As a reflection on post-9/11 NYC, this song is both heart-breaking and uplifting. I've seen Lucy do it in concert and it moved the entire audience. 'This is the land of the living / This is the land that's mine / She still watches over Manhattan / She's still holding onto that torch for life.'"
– Jim in Providence, RI

Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears performed by Ronan Tynan
"This song somehow captured the feeling of the days after the Sept. 11th attacks: The love of the place, the hopes, fears, sorrow and tears. It is about coming to America  – to New York City – and the hopes immigrants from Ireland (and others) brought. After 9/11 it was also about the loss of those hopes and tears we were all shedding during that very difficult time that followed. Tynan sang this at one (or more) of the events that occurred during the days following the attacks. It was something that moved me then and still does."
– Ellen in Nantucket, MA

Eve of Destruction by P.F. Sloan (Performed by Barry McGuire)
"To me it captures a feeling of the culmination of events all crashing together that transform the world we live in."
– Donald in Worcester, MA

I'll Be Seeing You performed by Billie Holiday
"My first husband was killed in 1987 when a disgruntled airline employee bypassed security and boarded his flight with a concealed handgun. The plane was taken down; the crew and all 40 passengers were killed. I understand all too well the anguish of the families, friends and co-workers of the victims of the 9/11 attacks. I know that the lyrics in the song refer to the end of a love affair, but to me they've always been more than that. No matter how you lose someone you love, passing by places full of memories of being there with him or her, and knowing that you will never, ever be there with them again is one of the most painful things I know."
– Barbara in Cambridge, MA

Peace on Earth by U2
"My husband and I were supposed to fly out of Logan to our beloved Yellowstone Park on Sept. 15, 2001. Of course, the airport was closed and the flight canceled, so I used my week's vacation trying to recover from the shock and numbness of those first days. Maybe in an effort to regain control of my own environment, I decided to paint the living room. U2's All that You Can't Leave Behind CD was on constantly that week and it helped. The hardest song to hear was 'Beautiful Day.' Because at 8am that previous Tuesday, it really was."
– Rachel in Somerset, MA

The Last Good Day of the Year by Cousteau
"This is about how, in retrospect, I felt about September 10th."
– Constantine in Boston, MA

Samuel Barber's Adagio for strings
"The saddest music ever written."
– Henry in Grafton, MA

"I was in D.C on that fateful day , watching the Pentagon burn from my hotel room. As I was looking out the window that evening, this piece of music came on the radio. I felt it completely captured the moment ."
– Marianne in Boston, MA

Freedom by Richie Havens
"What this country is about."
– Jack in Quincy, MA

Va pensiero chorus from Verdi's Nabucco
"The Saturday after 9/11 NPR was playing selections of observances from around the world. This was the one they aired from Westminster Abbey. I was on 128 and all the horror of the week hit me on hearing this and I needed to pull off the road to grieve for us all."
– Terri in Brookline, MA

Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning? by Alan Jackson
"When I first heard this song, it stopped me in my tracks. It was almost as stunning as the news of the attack was, in the way it made me think about the event and all the people it affected that day."
– Karen in Winchester

"Alan wrote this song and performed it for the first time on the CMA awards. it was written for that fateful day."
– Kelly in Quincy, MA

Other selections from WGBH Listeners
What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
N.Y.C. by Steve Earle
Ave Maria performed by Placido Domingo
If This Is Goodbye by Mark Knopfler
Here Comes The Sun by Richie Havens
We Shall Overcome by Mahalia Jackson
On That Day by Leonard Cohen
Hobo Bill's Last Ride by Jimmy Rodgers
Dramamine by Modest Mouse
Downside Up by Peter Gabriel
Only Time by Enya
Let There Be Peace On Earth
Hole in the World by The Eagles
We Are The World by USA for Africa
America The Beautiful
Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler
Also sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss
Arnold Schoenberg's Friede auf Erden (Peace on Earth) Op. 13
Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
Tuesday by Amy Fairchild
Benedictus by Karl Jenkins