Yesterday (Sunday 11th Sept 2011) I was privileged to musically assist my buddy Rob Halligan at one of the events happening on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Because of the extra security in Grosvenor Square for the BBC live transmission of the afternoon memorial ceremony meant I landed up having to be between the inner 'secure' area and the great outside. So I was only able to watch, from a distance, over the hedge or through the door of one of the BBC outside broadcast trucks whilst being unable to traverse either security cordon. Ironically this restriction then enabled a wider perspective on what was happening all around the square, both being able to witness the various protests and 'unrest' along with hobnobbing with the police and media personnel. At times there were some unusual juxtapositions, for example there was one period when what protestors were shouting through a megaphone blended with very audible music from the Radio 2 Hyde Park concert whilst the Thoresby Colliery Welfare Band brass band deftly played Sir Edward Elgar's sublime 'Nimrod' as the guests were gathering.
Prior to the service Rob was on the media interview 'treadmill', his responses encompassing the virtues of grace, forgiveness, hope and redemption giving the broadcasters an opportunity to explore a sea change in thinking partly fueled by a sense of 9/11 'replay' fatigue. And all this under the shadow of the massive eagle atop the foreboding American embassy to the West. Even the programmes presenter, David Dimbleby, felt some optimism replacing the usual entrenched views when chairing an intriguing Questiontime on 9/11 the preceding week.
Another of the concerns expressed by various commentators is that the repeated showing of films of from that day would inflict pain on grieving relatives all over again. However, whilst sharing one of those precious cuppa moments with Rob yesterday he said that it isn't the footage that gets to him, it is often music that's the trigger to bereavement symptoms. Some songs, some bands and even music that is not Rob's taste all have a powerful effect. Nowadays when there is such a close correlation of news footage and a typical Hollywood blockbuster perhaps we actually become inured to reality once it is repeated so many times?