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“There Are No Words” written on 9/11/2001
in one single hour in one single day
all the brothers, sisters and lovers all the friends that are gone
we were forged in freedom we were born in liberty
|It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 10 years since the events of 9/11, a day that Americans won’t ever forget. I had just moved to Ann Arbor a few weeks before the 11th, and when the reality of what was happening began to sink in I found myself walking around the boxes piled in my living room, thinking “I should be writing a song about this – but there are no words for this, there is no song I could write.” Gradually those words took shape in my head and became the chorus for the song. The verses quickly followed, and a few nights later I sang it at a gathering in East Lansing, Michigan. For days afterward I heard from audience members who urged me to record it, so within a week we were in the studio and recorded it as a single. I began handing out CDs to anyone who asked.|
I’ve never had an agenda for the song and in a very grassroots way, it found it’s way around the country and the UK, being sent to radio stations, churches, family members and friends. In 2002, I received a Michigan Emmy for the song because it was used by the Detroit NBC affiliate, WDIV, in a piece that they did on the attacks. In 2008, an Ann Arbor company, 45 North Communications, released a documentary on the Pentagon version of 9/11, and again featured the song prominently in the film. That led to an invitation from the Pentagon to sing it at the dedication of the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial on September 11, 2008, which I did with friends and musicians David Mosher and Pooh Stevenson. Hosted by Tom Brokaw, the experience was profound in every way, from sharing dinner the night of September 10th with family members of 9/11 victims, to standing in front of 16,000 people who were personally touched by the attacks, accompanied by the Air Force Band and Choir.
I think it’s the hope of every artist to create something that affects people in a strong way, and I’m honored that ‘There Are No Words’ has played a part in the healing process of our country for so many people.