Music is unifying in times of tragedy

By Alex Fiore

Just over one month after Sept. 11, Madison Square Garden hosted the “Concert for New York City” to raise money for the Robin Hood Relief Fund and honor the first responders to the World Trade Center.

The benefit concert raised over $35 million and featured dozens of performers including Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Billy Joel and Jay-Z.

I remember watching the concert at age 13 with my parents and not entirely understanding what was going on. I wondered how people could sit and watch a concert when the nation was still wrapped up in the tragedy and ground zero lay just a mile away.

What I didn’t understand then (and what I think I do now) is that events like this are held because they need to be.

Benefit concerts like this help people to move on from the tragedy and help people feel normal for a little while.

Some cynics might say that concerts like this are just opportunities for celebrities to be seen as generous and selfless, but I disagree.

I believe music is a uniting force in a time of tragedy. Music evokes emotions that we all share, and sharing those emotions in times of turmoil is the first step towards normalcy.

Just watch footage of Bowie performing “Heroes” in front of a packed and extraordinarily emotional crowd.

When everyone’s world had been turned upside down, it took music to bring smiles back to the faces of Manhattan.

It’s never easy to stomach tragedy, but music will always be there to help us through it.