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In Perspective: 'Singer of Simple Songs'

Rock, country, and Christian artists find inspiration in September 11's terrorist attacks.

The heroics of passengers aboard September 11's Flight 93, as well as the pain felt that day, have inspired both secular and Christian recording artists.

The hijacked plane crashed in Pennsylvania after a handful of passengers told phone operators and loved ones that they planned to fight back. Todd Beamer, a devout Christian and Wheaton College grad, was one of those callers. His last words are now a household saying: "Let's roll."

The phrase became a rallying cry for Americans and is now the title shared by two songs from very different artists: dc Talk and Neil Young.

After reading an article on Beamer, long-time rocker Young wrote and recorded "Let's Roll" in two days. The track was quickly copied and began arriving at radio stations last week.

The song is a graphic, imaginary account of the struggle aboard Flight 93: "I've got to put the phone down / And do what we gotta do / One's standing in the aisleway / Two more at the door / We've got to get inside there / Before they kill some more."

Young's song includes little reflection on the happenings of September 11 except for noting that there may be no answer for why it happened. There are no direct references to God, though Young's fictional narrator does ask for forgiveness "for what we gotta do." He ends on the concept that "One thing is true / You've gotta turn on evil / When it's coming after you."

The dc Talk tribute is the title track for an upcoming benefit album for The Todd M. Beamer Foundation, established by Beamer's wife, Lisa. In addition to a group reading of the Lord's Prayer, the album will also include the original "I See You in His Eyes" performed by Christian artist Nicole C. Mullen.

Both "Let's Roll" and "I See You in His Eyes" were written by the album's ...

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July/August
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