Six years ago I was still living in Seal Beach. I had no TV reception. I am grateful for that. I was spared the endless loop of horrific images re-played endlessly until viewers were numb.
It was years before I actually saw video of the events of September 11, 2001.
I was scheduled to play in a concert with The American Winds Concert Band at the Hollywood Bowl 11 days later. Interestingly the concert, programmed months earlier, was a tribute to patriotic music.
There was a real possibility that the concert would be canceled. In fact, I believe ours was the first concert at the Bowl following the attacks.
I remember sitting on the stage at the rehearsal on the morning of the concert, still feeling shell-shocked and dazed. The conductor called the first piece; The Star Spangled Banner.
I get choked up even now remembering how it felt to play our National Anthem that beautiful morning in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
The experience was even more intense that evening. Thousands of people emerged from their homes, possibly for the first time since the attack, to gather in a large venue for an evening of entertainment.
It was far beyond an evening of entertainment.
I wish you could all feel what I did that night, sitting on that stage playing The Star Spangled Banner, listening to thousands of voices raised in harmony and unity, singing the words loudly and clearly. It was electrifying.
What a privilege.