Remembering 9/11 God Bless America

Comments: 1

I remember clear as day that morning seventeen years ago. The first report was of a plane flying into the World Trade. I think everyone including myself assumed it was small craft, inexperienced pilot not a big deal. Then as it unfolded it became more surreal. I have barely spoken a word about these events over the years. I turn off the news programs as they speak of it. I find no value in hearing the story played over and over or a documentary or a movie about it.

The weeks that followed were equally surreal. At the time we were doing a weekly residency in NYC. No one knew what to do musically. How to move on. We just went in to do our thing the following week. The first sobering visual was crossing into the city and seeing Marines heavily armed standing along the ramps of the highway into the city. We got into the city and set up. The heavy emotional pall was fully evident. Marines and NYPD were every where, many of whom I am indebted to for their service and am proud to call my friends today. We started to play being mindful of our song selection. Then the coolest thing happened. We were easing our way in another song when we heard someone in the audience singing. It was the national anthem. They sang and everyone turned and stopped talking. Then we all began to sing along. In that moment the realization that this event was unifying people, that music had its place in the healing process was never clearer.

Seven years after it happened I was passing through the channels and I paused long enough to hear them say “church bells ring”. That phrase struck me. I turned off the TV and wrote the song. It was never meant for anyone but me. Maybe my own way to self soothe. It would be a few years later I was asked to play at a benefit for 9/11. I remembered the song and it seemed appropriate to play it for some family members in attendance who had lost loved ones. Despite their strong response and the organization that put on the event asking me to perform it at other events, I declined to share it further and left that performance as its only public apearance.

This morning I was woken up by a story about 9/11 on the TV. I couldn’t find the remote fast enough to switch to another channel. That was when I heard that phrase again… ” church bells ring”.

No pun intended but the phrase kept ringing in my ear. Honestly I had forgotten about the song. I couldn’t remember how it even went, wasn’t sure if I had a recording of it or not and started searching my computer. I found it on you tube and the lyrics.

I have struggled through the morning today about whether or not to share or post about it. Then I remembered another song I wrote for myself and never intended to record. I ended up putting that song on my first album, to my surprise it was my most downloaded song.

If you are so inclined and want to hear the song you can actually see the very performance I referenced above. I am also including the lyrics ( below the video) if you want to read along as I am not sure how the quality of the audio will be depending on how you are listening.

I am a Roots Rock Americana Artist. Made in the USA. I love our country and all of the people!

For anyone who listens I hope it helps or has meaning for you.

God Bless America!

be well,


Church Bells Ring

Artie Tobia (2008)

7 years gone
 to the day

still feels like
it was yesterday

black smoke rising 
through the air

we watched the news and just stared


the bravest ran right in to help

told the devil you go back to hell

Family and friends 
husbands and wives

some of the lucky ones got out alive


Now four different times the Church bells ring

As we stand in silence remembering


Still got anger still got fear

from the day we watched the twins disappear

Happened so fast
 gonna last so long

Got to make you wonder
where it all went wrong


Now four different times the Church bells ring

As we stand in silence remembering

Never should have happened

Never should gone down


If only the sheriff locked them up when they came to town

Brothers and sisters fathers and son

mothers and daughters they are gone


Now four different times the Church bells ring

As we stand in silence remembering



One Comment

  • Lori Guarnera says:

    I too remember it vividly as I was in Tower 2; the one that was hit by the second plane. I was lucky to have left about 5 minutes before or however long it took me to get from the 78th floor down in the express elevator and across the street to the other side of the block. I did not see it, only heard a collective gasp from onlookers and the explosion as the plane hit the building. Like you, we could not believe this could happen in this country and right in front of us, but it did and we are all forever changed.

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