Filk Friday: Flight 93

Friday, September 10, 2010

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Filk is not always about science, science fiction, and fantasy. It also fills the role that the folk song holds, not surprising since filk evolved from it. Nowadays, country music has claimed much of the folk song role: (my definition) to speak of current events to hold them in our consciousness and move us to action. According to, "Contemporary folk songs cover topics from love and relationships to racism, terrorism, war, voting, education, and religion, among other things."

I'm sure most of you have heard that song from Alan Jackson "Where Were You" asking us each what we remember from the day the planes crashed September 11, 2001. (It was one month before my wedding. A friend called me at home to tell me to turn on the news.) Though an excellent song, beautifully sung, the syrupy nostalgia bothers me a little. Where is the call to action? Where is the lesson we should have learned from this attack on our naivete?

As a folk type of song, it doesn't need those questions answered; it already satisfies the definition. But I grew up listening to albums like Up With People, full of songs about doing things: "Freedom Isn't Free," "Don't Stand Still," "Up With People," and more. (I love "The Happy Song.") I think we need more doing, more learning from the past rather than just remembering it. More inspiration.

Leslie Fish's "Flight 93," a tribute to one group of that day's heroes, satisfies that need for me. Though it is about the people on the plane who chose to take a stand against terror and tyranny, the message for us is that we can each choose to make our own stands against those who would harm others. Though we won't usually have to pay the cost with our death, our choices can and do make a difference for someone else.


Donna Hole said...

Yeah, I'd say that music is a definite call to action. I like the crossed guns too.

Not that I'm an enthusiast or anything.

I've been cruising around your posts. Very interesting subjects you come up with.


Emily White said...

Great song! Very moving.

Jaleh D said...

Thanks, Em. I figured you'd like it. :D

Thanks for stopping by, Donna. It's gratifying to have new visitors. You're welcome anytime.

I'm not an enthusiast of guns either. War and conflict aren't my thing, but I respect the people who go out there. We need honorable people behind the weapons to protect us from the dishonorable and malicious ones who have no qualms about using force against everyone else. What really sticks with me is that the people on Flight 93 were ordinary people like me. And when the moment of crisis happened, they found the courage to make a difference. I can only hope that I'd be able to do the same in a similar crisis and that in all the little moments that don't involve life and death that I could draw on their courage to stand up to defend individuals, whether it is their integrity, reputation, or feelings.

It's easy to consider the big moments, but it's hard to sustain that courage in the daily moments.

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