Yesterday was the 18th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Everyone remembers where they were when the attacks happened.
I remember being in my high school English class when our principal made an announcement. I remember trying to grasp what my principal was saying. It felt like a bad dream, but it wasn’t a dream.
I remember everyone coming together to mourn and stand strong.
To help Americans stand together, several musicians performed for the “America: A Tribute to Heroes” televised live concert. One of the most powerful performances and songs was “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers:
Well I won’t back down
No I won’t back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won’t back down
No I’ll stand my ground, won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin me down
gonna stand my ground
… and I won’t back downHey baby, there ain’t no easy way outhey I will stand my ground
and I won’t back down
Well I know what’s right, I got just one life
in a world that keeps on pushin me around
but I’ll stand my ground
…and I won’t back downHey baby, there ain’t no easy way outhey I will stand my groundand I won’t back downHey baby, there ain’t no easy way outhey I won’t back downHey baby, there ain’t no easy way outhey I will stand my groundand I won’t back down
No I won’t back down…
This song played on the radio often after the attacks, and it became an anthem for many people.
Earlier this year, I heard a story on NPR called “A Song For Any Struggle: Tom Petty’s ‘I Won’t Back Down’ Is An Anthem Of Resolve.”
The story was very fascinating, and I learned many new things about the song from this story. Did you know George Harrison played guitar on the original recorded track? Did you know George Harrison came up with the line “There ain’t no easy way out”? (On a side note, George Harrison is my favorite Beatle. Check out my post about “Here Comes the Sun,” here.)
I was most surprised to learn why Tom Petty wrote the song. In 1987, Tom Petty’s house was burnt down by an arsonist. A few years after that experience, Tom Petty wrote “I Won’t Back Down.” When talking about that experience and the song, Tom Petty said, “Because I felt really elated that they didn’t get me, you know? Like, I kind of just – that was the thought that was going through my head as well. You bastard, you didn’t get me, you know? I survived.”
The NPR story talks about how “I Won’t Back Down” has helped so many people get through difficult times. It was a very powerful story, and I highly recommend listening to it!
Here is the official music video for “I Won’t Back Down.”
Remembering all the lives lost on the day of the September 11th attacks. Thank you, Tom Petty, for helping us get through that time and all other difficulties because you shared your powerful song. ❤