Country Stars Remember 9/11
As some of country music's biggest names remember the 9/11 attacks, it's clear the day brought the country together. In the days, months and years afterward we've found a little more kindness, patience and love for our neighbors. Artists remember the tragedy like so many of their fans. It was just another Tuesday morning until they got a call, or turned on the radio — or in the case of Darius Rucker, looked outside his New York apartment window.
Memories of 9/11 from country artists like Scotty McCreery, Taylor Swift and Lauren Alaina are predictably innocent. These three experienced the drama of 9/11 through the eyes of their teachers or parents. A few artists were overseas at the time; Sara Evans remembers feeling lost and lonely as she wondered about her loved ones on American soil. You're sure to find something familiar in at least one of these memories. At the end of the day, even country superstars like Miranda Lambert and Josh Turner are vulnerable to the same feelings of shock and despair we all experience before uniting as a stronger country.
"I was in second grade, and the principal came over the intercom and said, 'Teachers, please stop what you’re doing and go check your emails.' We found out that the teachers were told not to turn the TVs, not to do anything, that they were told through the emails what happened. The fifth graders, they were the big dogs at the elementary school and they got to watch the news. But us second graders, we didn’t get to find out. We got home that day, and Mom pulled me in the living room … I remember it like it was yesterday."
"I was in Venice, Italy on 9/11. Such a strange and scary experience to have been in a foreign country when my home was under attack! I'll never forget finally being able to get my mother on the phone! We both cried at hearing each other's voice! I didn't know when if ever I would get home again. Can't believe it's been 10 years! We will never forget. God bless America."
"It was shocking. There’s no other way to put it. I seem to remember that Jennifer -- we were dating at the time, we weren’t engaged or married yet -- but she called me that morning and said, ‘You need to turn the news on.’ So I did and the first image I saw was the World Trade Center smoking. That was enough to get me to sit down and watch and try to see what in the world was going on. It was like a movie. Honestly, it was like watching a movie all day long. I remember thinking ‘This can’t be real, this can’t be real.’ And just to think that so many people in that building had to choose between jumping out of the building or burning up. It’s like they had to choose their form of death. It was an extremely tragic day for our country. And I’m always an optimist, too -- I try to look at what good can come out of this and the good thing that came out of that was it brought it our country together. And it really kind of boosted our patriotism. A lot of times it’s good that we can have that, but it’s sad that it takes an event like 9/11 to do that."
"On September 11, 2001, I was at the BBC in London to do a huge national radio show with their country program host, Bob Harris. The BBC were monitoring ABC, and I remember standing around the monitors with a bunch of the BBC news people watching a replay of the first airplane hitting, and then we were all shocked even more when the second plane hit. Immediately after the second plane hit, the BBC staff literally ran in all directions to get the news on the air. The BBC asked if I would still go ahead with the radio show, and I said I would. It was a somber show to be sure, but I agree with the BBC staff members who told me that day, ‘We have to go on with our daily lives. We can’t let the terrorists win.’"
Montgomery Gentry's Eddie Montgomery
"I had just gotten off the road and got in my truck and was headed to the little store to hang out that morning and had the radio on in my truck when they broke in with the news. I ran into the store and told them to turn on the TV and we just watched in disbelief. I'm still not over it. A lot of a great Americans died that day."
"I was actually asleep, and my sister’s a flight attendant, and my mom called and goes, 'It wasn’t her. She is flying today but a plane’s flown into the World Trade Center.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ And I used to live in New York, like a block and a half from the World Trade Center, so it completely freaked me out. And then as I’m watching it, the next plane hit. So it hit really close to home for me, literally. I was panicked, I didn’t ... It was horrible."
"I was a sophomore in high school. I was in the choir, and I remember even in my little bitty town of East Texas -- in Lindale, Texas -- there was kids leavin’ school because their loved ones had been injured or killed in 9/11, so it affected so many people and so many lives, and it’ll never be forgotten as long as I live. I’ll always remember where I was and that feeling."
Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley
"It was my birthday, believe it or not. Yeah. 9/11. So, I was in college, and yeah, it was wild. I mean, woke up, was getting ready to go to class. And I had a roommate come in and say, 'Man, turn on the TV. Classes are canceled. You won't believe.' He had had an earlier class, and he comes in and says, 'Turn on the TV.' And we all got up and watched it. It was just wild. So, it's hard to put into words. But it is funny, that it's still ... I can remember it and everybody can. It had such a huge effect on everybody."
"I was at school. I think I was in like … maybe first [grade]. I remember sitting in class and it was like everyone was freaking out, and I didn’t understand what was going on. My teachers were crying, and I remember everyone being so scared. All the kids were crying because the teachers were upset. I think my mom came and got me out of school that day and checked me out early. It was crazy. It was a crazy day."
“I was in fifth grade and all I remember was they had us all get together in the lunch room for an assembly and they were explaining it to us, but I didn't understand what they were talking about until I walked down the hall and I saw all the teachers looking up at their TVs in their classrooms, crying. People were getting their kids out of school, and I think it was my parents that really explained it to me in great detail, and it was just horrifying.” [Quote courtesy of KFROG]
"I was livin’ with my brother at the time. I woke up one morning -- my brother woke me up -- he said, ‘Oh, man, you need to turn the TV on.’ He said, 'A plane just hit the World Trade Center.' And I was like, ‘What?’ I couldn’t believe it, and so I got up, and I started watchin’ it, and I was just like, ‘What is goin’ on?’ But the thing that I think I remember more than all of it, than all the tragedy, all the despair of the situation, is I remember America coming united together. I remember that night I went on the corner, just the corner outside my house, and there was people out there that were having candlelight vigils everywhere. People just standin’ on the corners of the streets, holding lighters, holding candles, and I joined ‘em. And I was like, 'Wow, this is amazing.'"
"The morning of 9/11, I was working as the receptionist at Mercury Records. I was watching the events happen on the television in the lobby and was sad and scared for everyone. I remember wanting to leave for Carolina to be with my family."