Everything Changed

It had not been the best of summers.

On Sunday, August 5th, 2001, my mother, Avis Louise Foss Sinclair, died. She was 87 years old. Her passing was not sudden. August 8th, my 48th birthday, had been the day of her funeral and burial.

On September 8th, I’d finished writing a new song: “Round And Round.”

Now it was Tuesday, September 11th, in the morning.

I was at home, in the den, working at the computer. I had the house to myself and was absorbed in proof-reading and putting the finishing touches on the more-than-year-long project of writing my own guitar method book to use in my teaching.

The telephone rang.

There was no greeting. The voice on the other end just asked a question.

“Have you got the news on?”

I barely recognized the voice. It was my father-in-law, calling from Connecticut.

“No,” I replied.

“Turn it on. Any channel.”

“What’s up?”

“They’re flying planes into the World Trade Towers.”


At the beginning and end of two long journal entries that I wrote on the following Saturday, September 15th, I wrote the words: “Everything has changed.”

Now, as we all know all too well, everything here in America was changed that day. Those of us who lived through September 11th, 2001 will never go back to the way we thought, the way we lived, to the same kind of future that we looked forward to before that day. Never.

We did however, carry on. But as I look back, it seems that we did so at a very slow pace.

Two weeks into the following October, I finally finished my guitar method book. Without fail, every time I hand a brand new copy to a student, I hear the sound of my father-in-law’s voice when I answered the phone that morning.

That new song, even though it was written “before,” soon became my post-9/11 performance piece.

Somehow the words and the melody and the arrangement all seemed to fit how I felt then and still fit, these ten years later, how I feel now.

I hope that in some way, large or small, they will fit for you, too.

“Round And Round” – words, music, guitar and vocals by Eric Sinclair

Everything changed.

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1 Response to Everything Changed

  1. TPS says:

    Yes. Everything did change. And no matter what we’ve done since, the events of that day have robbed our collective psyche of an important aspect of the American Experience – our unbridled optimism. It is a sobering thought, knowing that there are people in the world whose value of life is so jaded that they’ll offer up their own lives in the interest of killing innocent people. I know that I have never gotten over it, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about security, or terrorism, or other evils in the world that until then, simply wasn’t a concern.

    We all do our best to live our lives as “normal” as we can, but the new normal has undertones of anxiety, suspicion, fear. Not cool….

    I feel robbed.

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