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On 9/11, we had just found out I was pregnant (surprise!) with our first child, and when my husband Thomas woke me up to tell me planes had crashed into the World Trade Center, my first reaction was annoyance that he had woken me before 7am (we were living in Tucson, AZ). When I realized what he had said, I stumbled out to find him and our housemates (also from the Northeast) gathered in front of the TV, watching in disbelief. That morning was spent trying unsuccessfully to reach all our friends and family in NY and DC, and then I had to go teach dance classes for five hours like nothing had happened.
(That baby I was unexpectedly pregnant with 20 years ago got engaged yesterday. So in the midst of all these difficult memories, let's remember that life and love and hope are here too.)
My father, David Brown, a longtime peace activist, wrote a song called "Hope Out Loud" for the first anniversary of 9/11. He helped create a Hope Out Loud peace festival in Hartford, CT that occured on 9/11 yearly for 10 years. I sang with him at the festival 10 years ago. Today, 9/11/21, I gathered with some folks I like to make music with. We played two of my dad's songs, and one I wrote a couple weeks ago. It's a song about the way I was raised, and about the complexities of living and loving other humans in these deeply divided times.
This video, an informal and slightly windy recording, includes the following songs, performed by Kelly Silliman (guitar, vocals), Laurie Davidson (vocals), Wylie Robbins Thorne-Thomsen (mandolin), and Quinn Eastburn (fiddle):
Hope Out Loud, by David M. Brown, written in 2002 for the first anniversary of 9/11
Still We Climb, by David M. Brown
Sometimes What We Need is a Song, by Kelly Silliman
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