Feel Good Friday: My Father's 9/11 Musical Tribute, "September Morning"

My father, David Kanter, was born and raised in New York.  He is often impatient and stubborn, loves diners, eats whitefish on bagels and, until I brought it to his attention a couple years back, was completely unaware that he pronounced "huge" without the "h".  I find that endearing.

A classically trained trombonist, he graduated from the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music and went on to serve in the U.S. Navy Band where he played in countless ceremonies for servicemen who lost their lives in Vietnam.

Like many people who are called to play music for a living, he has had to balance his love for performing and composing music with teaching it.  I was always curious as to how his sometimes testy New York nature went over with his students (and the parents writing the checks).  Yet, many of his students have stayed with him for years.  It wasn't until my own boys began playing instruments (the trumpet and trombone), that I got a first-hand look at his teaching style.  He stops by occasionally to give them lessons and I always peek into the room to see how it's going (and secretly record a few minutes of it).  To my surprise, I've learned that my Dad is much more patient when he's teaching than when he's waiting for a waitress to top off his coffee at a diner, for example.

I have always admired my Dad's musical talent, however, I don't think I fully appreciated just how brilliant he truly is until after the events of 9/11.  Saddened by the tragedy, yet inspired by the heroism and patriotism that followed, he began composing a musical tribute to express the complex feelings that he and so many of us shared.

The piece, entitled "September Morning," has evolved over the past fourteen years and my Dad (did I mentioned that he's stubborn?) was very particular about when and how it has been shared with the masses.  I am very please to finally be allowed to share it freely and I couldn't be more proud of his work.  I think it's gonna be (h)uge.

-  Vanessa (Kanter) van der Have

“September Morning” by David M. Kanter

In the sky over Western Pennsylvania, an immense and beautiful bird flies.
In her belly, a play of morality is hastily improvised. 
The play is finished, and from the land a fine mist rises.
I was there on September Morning

In a world that was tranquil and bright
When the terror was delivered without warning
And the day was transformed into night
And I looked on the scene unbelieving
How could man to man be so unkind?
Yet I live. Still I live.
For a new September morning.

In the hours that followed there were stories
Of the heroes who gave up their lives
For as hundreds were fleeing from the buildings
There were some who would rush back inside
As the smoke and the dust overcame them
We would witness their noble sacrifice
Yet they live. Still they live.
In a legacy of glory.

In the skyline of our imagination
Lay the spirits of those who have died
And what building shall rise will enshrine them
And the beauty bestowed with their lives
On the plot which is known as ground zero
We will always reverently walk
For they live. Still they live.
On a new September morning.

Hugging the channel in Virginia,
The sprawling fortress barely moves in the attack.
Concrete layers reach down almost to the earth's own bedrock.
No matter-- the strike is felt deep within the martial commune.
The Pentagon bridles to respond, but is restrained.

In the history of our beloved nation
Whose ideals we are called to defend
We have granted our debt to the Almighty
On whose help we will always depend
For the wisdom of our Founding Fathers,
who our greatest blessings did avail.
We may live. And be free.
As one nation under God, [as one nation under God],
Our nation shall not fail.

© Copyright 2002-2015, David M. Kanter
All rights reserved.

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