Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Night To Remember

Last night, we attended the Linden Hills 911 Tribute at the Lake Harriet Band Shell in Minneapolis. The weather was fine, the crowd strong, the music moving, and the 9/11 remembrances were very well done. We've been at this event several times in the past and this clearly was the best one yet.

The sixty-four piece orchestra was conducted by Manny Laureano and they performed extraordinarily well, particularly on the 1812 Overture. The entire event was also unapologetically patriotic from the Pledge of Allegiance at the opening to the rousing close with God Bless America. In between, we were also treated to the Armed Forces Salute and a parade of flag-waving kids (including two of ours) stepping lively to Sousa's Washington Post March.

The tribute definitely achieved its goal of remembering and honoring those who lost their lives on 9/11. The "Flashback" featuring a reading of news reports from the 9/11/01 while banners listing the names of the victims were unfurled was an especially effective way to remember the powerful emotions of the day.

It was also refreshing to not have to hear from a single politician. A few years ago, a portion of the 9/11 Tribute was spent with Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak recognizing the first responders from the Minneapolis bridge collapse. There's a time and a place for that. This event is not it.

The event was not shy about religion either with an invocation at the opening and a lump-in-the-throat inducing rendition of Amazing Grace (a world premier of this particular arrangement) during the candlelight vigil at the end. The pipes get to you every time on that one.

Finally, the wonderful evening was capped off by a brief and unexpected fireworks display. While some might not consider it an appropriate way to remember 9/11, I thought it a perfect statement that while our country was deeply hurt by the attacks that day we are still the United States of America--the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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