When the World Trade Centers came down on September 11, 2001, I was on I-95 in Maryland driving into Baltimore to retrieve some props and set pieces. The breaking news interrupted what I was listening to on the radio. When I got back home, I watched the other news about the planes crashing into the Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania not that far from where we lived. We knew people who worked and went to school in New York. We knew people who worked near the Pentagon. We knew people who lived in Pennsylvania. This tragedy was personal for us. And the memory is etched into my mind.
I think we all have recollections of where we were at the exact time of these and other national tragedies. We may remember things differently, but these memories bring us together because we all experienced the same events.
On the Sunday after the 9/11 tragedy, my daughters and I were asked to sing my arrangement of "America, the Beautiful" for a memorial service. Singing the line "Thine alabaster cities gleam undimmed by human tears" will never be the same for me again. Even now, I can barely sing through the tears during that verse.