"I can't stand to fly, I'm not that naive
I'm just out to find, the better part of me
I'm more than a bird, I'm more than a plane
I'm more than some pretty face beside a train
And its not easy... to be me"
A little more than a month after the attacks, the New York area was just starting regain feeling after the numbness we felt, when the initial shock wore off. We had weeks of crying, weeks of wanting everything to go back to "before." As the smoke from the pit at Ground Zero slowly stopped, it was time to remember the dead and thank those who worked so tirelessly, (many of whom would later lose their lives as an aftereffect of working so long in a toxic environment) hoping against hope, they would find just one person alive.
"I wish that I could cry, fall upon my knees
Find a way to lie, about a home I'll never see
It may sound absurd, but don't be naive
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed, but won't you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream
and its not easy...to be me"
David Bowie sat on the stage and opened the show with Simon & Garfunkel's "America," followed by "Heroes." These two songs would set the tone of the show. The list of performers was impressive, but the one that touched me the most was not McCartney, Jagger, Mellencamp or Bon Jovi.
"Up, up and away, away from me
now it's all right
You can all sleep sound tonight
Well I'm not crazy
I can't stand to fly, I'm not that naive
Men weren't meant to ride with clouds between their knees"
While all those artists performed with grace and attitude befitting the moment, the lasting impression from that night was that of John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting, sitting at the piano and singing "Superman."
"I'm only a man in a silly red sheet, digging for kryptonite on this one way street
Only a man in a funny red sheet looking for special things inside of me
Inside of me, inside of me, inside of me, inside of me
I'm only a man in a funny red sheet
I'm only a man looking for a dream
I'm only a man in a funny red sheet and it's not easy
It's not easy... to be... me"
You may ask why I choose to feature this song today, a nondescript day in April, as opposed to on the anniversary of the attacks. Very simple. We need to remember what happened more often than one day a year. We, who live in the New York area have never been able to push it completely out of our minds...and that's a good thing.
Please read the lyrics as you listen to the performance from the Concert for New York.
No, it's not easy.