A Long, Long Journey To Heal
by Teresa Jennings
It's been 10 years. A lot of the children who sing this song will have to be told about the events of September 11, 2001, because they were not even born then. But for those of us who were around that day – now known to all of us simply as "9-11" – it's not likely that we will ever forget. As tragic as the day was, it's somehow comforting to feel the spirit of togetherness we shared as we struggled with the range of emotions from shock and fear to anger and mourning.
This song, "A Long, Long Journey To Heal" captures the sentiment of unity in our depth of feelings from that time. It also hopes to give insight into it for those who were not there. A pain that deep does not heal quickly. Indeed, it is a long journey we travel together, but each at our own pace. You could stop and dwell on the profound nature of that thought with your students, or you could simply use the piece for a performance or assembly, or even just in the classroom.
A song of healing, not just for 9-11 - It's also significant to note that while this song was written for the anniversary of 9-11, it does not speak of it directly. There is no reference to violence, and no naming of places or people. There has been, and will be, plenty of media attention to do that sort of thing. We prefer to focus on what we human beings shared then and now. For that reason, you could absolutely use it for any purpose that involves mourning or healing. Many teachers have told us over the years how music has helped their students cope with loss, notably through songs such as this one.
Using the song this September - If you do use this piece for the anniversary of 9-11, we know that you won't have much time to prepare it after school starts back. So we made it easy to learn and remember. You should be able to teach it quickly, especially if you use the recording.
On page 65, you will find the lyrics for this song. You will also find information about some extras we are providing for you: a PowerPoint® presentation you can use, and a video of the same photographs as the PowerPoint, but with the audio included already. This version features a very talented soloist (Katy Gentry) singing the song, in case that works better for you. (Note: There is also an MP3 of the solo version of this song available as a free download with your subscription. Check out the list on page 64.) Don't worry – there are no pictures of burning towers or melted metal beams. It's all done in good taste. To be sure it's what you want, be sure to preview it before sharing with your students.
Also on page 65, we list other resources that we think might benefit your program, such as "The Star-Spangled Banner." (All of these resources are available for purchase as downloadable files for really quick procurement if you don't already have them. Note that they are also available in back issues of Music K-8 where noted, so if you have past issues, you may already have many of these pieces.)
One other thing we include with this issue for this piece is a one page student part. We offer it in print as a free extra to demonstrate what student parts look like. You will find this tucked into the flyers that accompany this issue. We also have it available as a free download. Again, see details on page 64.
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.