NYC 911

It was Indian summer in New York
With an early morning sun
Tuesday September 11th

Uptown, young moms with strollers
Pushed baby boys and girls
Across the Hudson River
New Jersey shone like pearls

Downtown, Wall Street traders
Stirred their coffee cups
Across the great East River
Brooklyn was just waking up

The sky was blue and cloudless
The birds they gave their song
A day so strangely perfect
But not, dear God, for long

The morning calm was shattered
A nightmare took its place
An airplane flew directly in
The World Trade Tower’s face

A fiery explosion
Thousand feet above the ground
It felt just like an earthquake
From miles you heard the sound

There was no explanation
Folks stood shocked and stunned
And as they watched a second plane
Ripped through the other one

As firefighters rushed to cope
With what was going on
A third plane full of passengers
Smashed the Pentagon

The awful truth was dawning
This was a planned attack
Desperate people tried to leave
The cops kept going back

Two towers now were burning
Two deathly morning rides
No one could imagine
The terrible scene inside

People started jumping
To escape the howling flames
Two went down while holding hands
We didn’t know their names

Thousands still were trapped inside
Those fire sticks of hell
And as folks watched in disbelief
First one, then both towers fell

People screamed and fled
A dust cloud left you blind
And never once did you forget
The poor souls left behind

The news began to flash around
Hijackers with knives
Bravery on a fourth plane
Saving who knows how many lives

Scores of policemen
Died when earth and sky converged
Hundreds of brave firefighters
Never did emerge

Pictures of the missing
Soon lined every New York block
Some turned up in hospitals
Most did not

People who would never
Have flown the flag before
Proudly hung the stars and stripes
Over their front door

People they lit candles
And said what can we do
They went and prayed in churches
And in the subway too

Mayors, Governors, Senators
Foes the day before
All joined hands as comrades
As the country edged toward war

But what kind of war can this be
When the foe don’t show his face
When his own life ain’t worth nothing
And fear’s his only ace

I can’t say what will happen
How ends this deathly game
One thing I know for certain
We’ll never be the same

We’ll look over our shoulder
Pause when we hear a plane
We’ll search the face of strangers
And wear the scars of pain

I pray we’ll find who thought this up
No matter who or where
And that we’ll string them up and
Leave ’em hanging in Times Square

I pray we’ll try to understand
The anger behind the deed
I pray we’ll know all people are
The same color when they bleed.

I pray we aren’t so frightened
To let freedom find its end
The freedom that we desire
So much to defend

And as I sit over breakfast this morning
And in my right hand’s a cold, cold knife
That won’t feel the same in my fingers
All the rest of the days of my life

And as I sit over breakfast this morning
In my left hand I’m clutching my fork
And I think back on an Indian summer
Morning in New York

(lyrics: Dan Bern)

This song appears on: