Alan Jackson Tells Story Behind 9/11 Anthem

Alan Jackson

photo: YouTube

Alan Jackson wrote a song that holds a very dear meaning to Americans. Not only are the lyrics meaningful but so is the unique story behind how he wrote it. More here.

September 11, 2001 is a day that every American will have in their hearts forever. Two months after that horrific day Alan Jackson dropped a song that was written on his heart in the middle of the night just weeks earlier. At the CMA Awards, Alan “got through” his performance with that song and left the stage feeling relieved. At the time he did not know how impactful that song would truly be.

#NeverForget

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“Typically, when we kick that song off and the crowd realizes what it is, people hold up their lighters and things,” Alan reflects during an interview that was focused on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. “And I’ve seen people crying in the crowds, and they cheer on lines that mean something, like the line about the heroes just doing what they do — they really like that. I don’t know. There’s a lot of emotion going on in the room during that song, and it always makes me feel good that it has affected people that way.”

Watch a Live Performance of the Song

This song came to Alan at 4AM on a Sunday when he woke up and began humming a melody followed by the first few words that would become the hit “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning).”

“I got up and scribbled it down and put the melody down so I wouldn’t forget it, and then the next day I started piecing all those verses together that were the thoughts I’d had or visuals I’d had,” Alan says. “It was a Sunday — I remember because, when I started writing it, my wife and girls had gone off to Sunday school, and I finished it that day. Like I said, that song was just a gift. I’ve never felt I could take credit for writing it. Looking back, I guess I just didn’t want to forget how I felt on that day and how I knew other people felt.”

“Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)” spent five weeks at the top of the charts and later won him a Grammy Award as well as countless other honors.

Initially, Alan thought he could phase the song out eventually, however, the nation took a liking to it and to this day he plays it at all of his live concerts.

The lyrics to this beautiful piece are:

Where were you when the world stopped turnin’
That September day?
Were you in the yard with your wife and children
Or workin’ on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Risin’ against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?
Did you weep for the children, they lost their dear loved ones
Pray for the ones who don’t know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out with pride for the red, white, and blue
And the heroes who died just doin’ what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?
I’m just a singer of simple songs
I’m not a real political man
I watch CNN, but I’m not sure I can tell you
The diff’rence in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope, and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love
Where were you when the world stopped turnin’
That September day?
Teachin’ a class full of innocent children
Or drivin’ down some cold interstate?
Did you feel guilty ’cause you’re a survivor?
In a crowded room did you feel alone?
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her?
Did you dust off that Bible at home?
Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you notice the sunset for the first time in ages
And speak to some stranger on the street?
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun?
Did you turn off that violent old movie you’re watchin’
And turn on I Love Lucy reruns?
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some strangers
Stand in line to give your own blood?
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love?
I’m just a singer of simple songs
I’m not a real political man
I watch CNN, but I’m not sure I can tell you
The diff’rence in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope, and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love
I’m just a singer of simple songs
I’m not a real political man
I watch CNN, but I’m not sure I can tell you
The diff’rence in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope, and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love
And the greatest is love
And the greatest is love
Where were you when the world stopped turnin’
On that September day?
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