9/11 Reflection – 2021

We must never forget the events of 9/11. The senseless and horrific loss and destruction because of the hate, or more accurately, the fear of the “other.”

On this day 20 years ago (Sept 11, 2001), I was up all night composing. I had just finished a new piece and I stopped to look at the news before I reported for duty (I was a member of The US Air Force Academy Band). A plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers in New York. We did not yet realize that it was part of a concerted attack. As the day unfolded, I got chills when I realized that the attack started just as I had finished my new piece, ALL FOR FREEDOM.  

For me, ALL FOR FREEDOM will forever be connected to 9/11 because of the timing of its completion, but also, because the piece highlights acts of selfless heroism and courage—the polar opposite of the attacks of 9/11. My unit took ALL FOR FREEDOM on a concert tour just weeks after the attacks. The music helped convey our message of unity, standing up for the rights of others, the value of diversity and the amazing potential for love found within each and every human being.

Reflecting on the past 20 years it appears that the 9/11 attacks infected our society with the hate—the fear of the “other,” the very thing we pledged to fight at the time of the attack. It is a cancer that has insidiously attacked us from within. Take a minute to reflect on this. Look within and see if can take a pledge to act with selfless courage to combat hate—the fear of the “other” in all aspects of your life. If you can, then you have learned something valuable from our experience of 9/11. “United we stand, divided we fall” continues to be true. In the end, love will always conquer fear. Be the light. Be the change. Be the love.

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