September 11 Is Important to Me…

by Magdalena Edwards

The Beatles Perform in a Hurricane, Florida, USA, 1964 by Charles Trainor. Color: Black and White Type: Archival Digital Print Edition: Limited Edition (11x14" Open) Signed: Estate Stamped. Morrison Hotel Gallery Prints.

September 11 is important to me for many reasons. It is important because of what happened in Santiago, Chile, in 1973. It is important because of what happened in New York and Virginia and Pennsylvania, and across the U.S. skies as airplanes headed from the northeast to California, in 2001. It is important because of what The Beatles achieved during their concert in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1964, which I learned about while watching “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week — The Touring Years” the documentary directed by Ron Howard.

From the Morrison Hotel Gallery, where I found the photo at the top: “The Beatles played a concert at the Gator Bowl on their first American Tour in 1964. It’s notable because once The Beatles found out that the concert was going to be segregated, they refused to play there unless they allowed the audience to be desegregated. Paul McCartney went on record about their disapproval of the situation and their lack of understanding of segregation in the first place. John Lennon said, ‘We never play to segregated audiences and we aren’t going to start now. I’d sooner lose out appearance money.’ They did end up playing to a desegregated audience. The concert was also notable because it was held the day after Hurricane Dora struck St. Augustine and Jacksonville. Most of Jacksonville was without electricity and power was not restored for several days. Despite the hurricane, 23,000 fans attended, paying $4 and $5 for tickets. During the concert, Ringo Starr’s drums were nailed to the stage because of 45 mph winds.”

I like the simplicity of the phrase: “September 11 is important to me…”

The exercise of finishing the sentence reminds me of my second grade teacher Mrs. Brown at Chevy Chase Elementary School. She had each of us write in our speckled composition book every morning. We usually had such a phrase to get us started. Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to say, and we need help getting there. I am sure this sentence can be answered in a million different ways, and I like to think about how many roads can lead us towards our answers. On a day like today, many of us are doing the exercise at the same time, in our minds, out loud, in writing, on social media. Together, in parallel, from different points of view, we are thinking about our versions of a specific day and how it has touched us. This is powerful and I can feel it. September 11 is important to me.