Not surprisingly, some artists composed songs specifically addressing September 11, 2001. Country's Alan Jackson asked "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)," and Toby Keith inspired criticism with his unabashedly fiery "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)." Bruce Springsteen released an entire album addressing the tragedy, The Rising, while Paul McCartney quickly penned the sing-along-friendly "Freedom." Rap's Jay-Z, along with the aforementioned Keys, performed one of the best recent odes to New York, "Empire State of Mind." However, 9/11 hasn't inspired the same kinds of era-defining songs as did 1960s and 1970s tracks protesting the Vietnam War. Perhaps more time needs to pass before we can comfortably address such a horrific subject.
I would like to propose one more song for the 9/11 list; I do not recall that it received greater airplay during those initial days. Still, I believe that it relates to a lasting effect of the day's events: compassion and love for our fellow citizens. Continuing to help others and forging even stronger relationships with our friends and family may be the best ways to mark honor the victims and heroes on this tenth anniversary, and no other song speaks to that sentiment better than James Taylor's 1976 classic "Shower the People."