Jesse Butterworth (Daily Planet)

"After September 11, I realized the little things in life were some of the greatest things in life.  The simple pleasures of holding my wife's hand or eating until I'm full, I took for granted.  After September 11, I was reminded life was short and we should enjoy each day because these are the best days of our lives."



Jason Kennedy (Cadet)

"I woke up to 'Good morning.  Happy Birthday.  Go watch TV.'  It was my 28th birthday and being on the west coast, it is harder to relate to, kind of like it was happening to someone else.  But we could feel the impact as Americans.   We actually had a concert scheduled for that night with one of my best friends up in Portland, Ore.   When it happened, we weren't sure what to do.  You never know the protocol, and we ended up canceling the show and rescheduling understandably.

"The next show we had was a 'See You at the Pole' rally.  It was a bit different with that hanging over our heads.   The crowd was a little bit more raw, their nerves were exposed, and everyone was a bit more attentive to the message of the songs and what we said.   Every time we mentioned hope everyones ears perked up like, do you have the answer?   It was more of  if you have hope I would like to hear that.

"When I have a family someday and my kids ask why everyone's sad on my birthday, I'll have to explain it to them."



Jeff Deyo
"One of the incredible shifts that took place for me was my attitude toward the 'Star Spangled Banner' and other patriotic things.  Just weeks before the terrorist attacks, we asked our guitarist to play a 'silly', Jimmy Hendricks version of the song at a youth conference.  We were actually making fun of the song, somewhat like you might make fun of an 'old school' nursery rhyme.  But, of course, after 9/11, our feelings toward the 'Star Spangled Banner' radically changed!!  Suddenly we began adding this song into our worship concerts, and we began feeling genuine pride for our country.  This is a feeling that I believe my generation had lost or had never experienced, but now, it seemed to be as strong as ever, right in the face of this horrible tragedy.

"Another thing I began considering was a shift in the focus of our patriotism in relation to God.  One of the more recurring cries after 9/11 was 'God Bless
America'.   We sang it.   We chanted it.   We screamed it, and we prayed it.   And we should have.   But, if it is even slightly possible that God had turned His back on America, allowing these terrible events to happen, even temporarily, to test us, I began to wonder whether we should begin inverting the order of this popular patriotic phrase, and cry out boldly and bravely, 'AMERICA …BLESS GOD!!!!!!'

"If we would truly turn our hearts back to God, back to His heart, by joining together to humble ourselves, pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked, selfish ways, then He would certainly turn back to healing, forgiving, caring for and watching over His people again in America.   I believe this must be our cry.   And this must be our heartbeat.   This must be our song, and we must mean it like we’ve never meant it:   AMERICA BLESS GOD!!"