By Jackson Dodd
Many country artists have shared their memories from sixteen years ago, on September 11, 2001, when the world witnessed devastating attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Alan Jackson penned “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” a few weeks after the attacks. “I just pretty much visualized a lot of those scenes and stories I’d heard and seen on television or heard people talk about,” he said in a release.
“The song came out of nowhere in the middle of the night – the chorus did. Just a gift,” Jackson added. “And 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, and…that was about it.”
The song was later performed at the 35th Annual CMA Awards.
“It was hard enough to go out there and sing something new anyway and then just the topic made it nerve-wracking to do,” Jackson said. “I didn’t think about what was gonna happen or anything. We just sang it, and I just remember other than being relieved that I got through it, I just felt very proud that it seemed to cause a reaction in people.”
Hilary Scott of Lady Antebellum remembers being in 10th grade and sitting in history class watching the coverage on TV.
“I was actually on my way to history class, interestingly enough, and so we got to that class and turned the TV on, and we’re just watching the footage,” Scott said. Later in the day, she attended a school assembly where administrators explained what was happening.
“It’s one of those things that’s forever ingrained in your memory,” she added.
Eric Church, working at a shop-at-home network at the time, heard the news while traveling to work. “[I] really couldn’t grasp what had happened until I got to work and saw it for myself on television,” Church said. “I remember I watched the second plane hit the tower in real time. I had just moved to Nashville earlier that year, and all I remember is wanting to go home and be with those I loved.”
“I’ll never, I’ll never forget that feeling,” Church added.