Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen:
The Rising had its origins in the national telethon we were invited to be a part of the week of September 11. I wrote “Into the Fire” for that show (it remained incomplete, so I performed “My City of Ruins,” the song I’d written a year earlier for Asbury Park). Of the many tragic images of that day, the picture I couldn’t let go of was of the emergency workers going up the stairs as others rushed down to safety. The sense of duty, the courage, ascending into . . . what? The religious image of ascension, the crossing of the line between this world, the world of blood, work, family, your children, the breath in your lungs, the ground beneath your feet, all that is life, and . . . the next, flooded my imagination. If you love life or any part of it, the depth of their sacrifice is unthinkable and incomprehensible. Yet what they left behind was tangible. Death, along with all its anger, pain and loss, opens a window of possibility for the living. It removes the veil that the “ordinary” gently drapes over our eyes. Renewed sight is the hero’s last loving gift to those left behind.