From Chicken Soup for the Soul of America

The Only Thing
We Could Think Of

We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.

Marie Curie

My singing group, The Sirens, was invited to New York City to sing at an awards ceremony for Helen Thomas (the White House correspondent). Only five of us could make it, but it turned out fine. We were excused from all of our classes for the day so we decided to make use of our time off. After the ceremony, we hopped on the subway and headed to Ground Zero. As soon as we stepped onto the sidewalk, the mood was completely different. It was dark, quiet and it smelled strange.

What we saw was devastating. The buildings were still burning, and the air was filled with smoke. The area was fenced off, but you could see pretty much everything. I have never seen such destruction in my entire life; not one person there could look at it without feeling horrified. There were candles, pictures, posters and letters posted all along the fence that separated us from the remains. Hundreds of people stood watching and crying. I have never felt so hopeless. We decided to do the only thing we could think of and that was to sing. We have been preparing many patriotic songs that are beautifully written and well arranged (for a cappella music).

The girls and I stood up against the wall, faced the people, and with the remains behind us, we sang for two hours. People videotaped us, took pictures, hugged us, sang with us, and about five people called home and held up their cell phones to our music.

At one point, a woman in front of us broke down and started bawling, and all of us girls felt her pain and lost it in the middle of the song. The most amazing thing was that the crowd joined in and finished it for us; it was absolutely surreal. CNN showed up and taped our group and the people responding to the music. In our last song, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” firemen began to fill the streets. There were about forty of them, and they had just walked off Ground Zero from working there all day. They removed their hats and began to cry. It was so sad; I cannot begin to describe how it felt. At the end they applauded us, and we applauded them. We walked into the streets and hugged them and thanked them. They were crying and tried to explain how horrible it is there, but told us how important it is that people support each other.

I will never forget that day as long as I live.

Elizabeth M. Danehy

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