Music heals, it always has. However on the days after 9/11 we were all finding the terrible events so hard to process that we needed silence. Everything stopped for a while. I worked at a top forty radio station in Washington DC. Our station was located in Arlington VA, so we weren’t that far from the Pentagon where one of the planes came down. Obviously our top forty pop music just seemed ridiculous after such events and our radio station went silent for a few days. Eventually we had to go back on the air but not after we went through every song we played with a fine tooth comb. We studied all the lyrics to see if there was anything that would add to people’s pain. Everyone was so fragile that as a station we wanted to help people heal not add to their pain. So songs about walls coming down, or people falling or airplanes or explosions all had to go. We went with our softer tracks for at least a week and played songs that were off format for our station but just seemed right for the moment. I remember during that time hearing Enya’s Only Time quite a lot. I have never been an Enya fan but that song worked for the moment, it helped heal in a way only music can. Sarah Mclachlan’s Angel was another requested song. Eventually several artists wrote songs about 9/11 and those helped too.
For me there was a song that I needed to hear. It is a song that musically has always hit notes of comfort and healing for me and lyrically moves me as well. There have been several versions of this song but for me no one helps me heal more than Jeff Buckley. This was my go to song when I was ready to listen to music again after that terrible day and listening to it now I can remember how numb I felt. But I also remember that as terrible as that day was out of it came a country that came together. We showed the world that America can be a country where we are one and love and support each other. It’s good to be reminded of that.