10 Country Songs Inspired by September 11, 2001
Anyone who was live on September 11, 2001, and remembers the horror that unfolded both in person and on television that day, will never forget the range of emotions they felt amid the sadness, destruction, devastation, and loss.
In the weeks and months following that terrible day, country musicians such as Alan Jackson, Darryl Worley and Toby Keith sat down and did what they do best. They allowed their emotions to pour out from ink to paper, putting to song, what so many of us were feeling, but didn’t know to put into words. And they weren’t the only ones.
Charlie Daniels Band: “This Ain’t No Rag, It’s a Flag”
This song was released in November 2001 and was written in response to the September 11th attacks. This song got a whole lot of attention after CMT refused to allow Charlie Daniels to perform it during the Country Freedom Concert which was a benefit to raise funds for the Salvation Army’s disaster relief efforts in New York City. Charlie refused to go on the show saying that “if my song would be offensive, then my presence would be offensive.“
Alan Jackson: “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)”
Alan Jackson went for a walk on September 11th and when he got back home, he heard about the attacks. Jackson wanted to write a song to express all of the feelings and thoughts that he had, but he struggled to find the right words. On the morning of Sunday, October 28, 2001, Alan woke up with the melody, opening lines and chorus going through his head. Later that morning, Alan completed writing the lyrics to the song.
Toby Keith: “Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue (The Angry American)”
Toby’s dad was killed in a car crash on March 24, 2001. That, combined with the awfulness of September 11, 2001 is what led Toby to write this song, which he did by the way, in just 20 minutes.
Darryl Worley: “Have You Forgotten?”
There’s no doubt that this is one of the most well-known patriotic songs to be released in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, but believe it or not, there was a lot of controversy around it. People felt that the song had a hidden message in it and that it was an accusation that anyone who disagreed with the United State’s involvement in Afghanistan had “forgotten” about 9/11. Worley has said that’s not the case at all. He just wanted the song to show support for the victims, their families, the veterans and the troops.
Jo Dee Mesinna- Bring on the Rain
It was September 10, 2001 when Jo Dee Messina’s song “Bring on the Rain” was released. The next day, the rains came.
Lonestar: “I’m Already There”
Richie McDonald explains that while this song wasn’t written for September 11th, it became popular following the attacks because troops were deployed. “This was a song that I wrote about being away from my family and a song that we could relate to every single night in the band being away from our families,” said McDonald. “But after 9/11 it took on a whole new meaning, especially with the men and women in the military. They spend years away from their families, and it put things in perspective for us.“
Aaron Tippin: “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly”
Tippin wrote this song for his album “People Like Us” which was released in 2000, but it didn’t make the cut. He says he understands why and that’s because the song had a bigger purpose. Two days after the September 11th attacks, Tippin went to a Nashville studio to record the song.
Hank Williams Jr.: “America Will Survive”
In the days after September 11th, Hank rewrote the words to his 1982 hit “Country Boy Will Survive.” He performed this version on a CMT special in November 2001.
Brooks and Dunn: “Only in America”
This song was recorded and released several months before the September 11th attacks but became popular after that day. The song was featured in the beginning of the Oliver Stone film “World Trade Center” and was also used during President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign. This song was also played when President Obama announced Joe Biden as his vice president in 2008 and it was featured after President Obama’s acceptance speech.
The Eagles: “Hole In The World”
This song was written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. It was released in 2003.