911 The Names Union Square

fading with every day, yet the memory stays just as strong.  

In Union Square in the underground corridor above N/R line on the west wall, are all the names of those who perished. Label stickers that John Lin (I only discovered the artist by posting this clip) put up onto the subway tile, some names are fading. You could miss it if you're not paying attention. In this clip I took my niece Sara to walk the corridor. She was 9 at the time of the tragedy living in NJ and like us all, forever changed by the event. Every time I perform in Union Square, I point out to people as they rush on by, this moving simple tribute. A quiet reflection of the gravity and loss, slowly fading from the finger tips that brush over the names.

It's still there. You should check it out.
Thanks to Melea Seward for informing me that the wall sticker installation was created by John Lin. 

She writes: My friend John Lin did this. He measured the space, mapped the white subway tiles, printed all the names of those that died on 9/11, and enlisted a bunch of us to help him make this wall. It was the weekend after September 11 -- maybe 20 people or so -- unpeeled Avery labels and affixed them in alphabetical order -- to the wall. I had just moved to New York a few months before. I have recently left NYC -- was there a few weeks ago and ran into this wall, noticed the peeling stickers. And had a moment. I was writing about it and wondered if anyone else had noticed it.

I'm pleased to see that you made this video. And accompanied the long walk down that hallway with your song.

Thank you.

music performed and written by Cathy Grier

Past 911 blog posts:

2012 after Hurricane Sandy Stirred Not Shaken

2011 September 11

2010 Where Are We Now

2009 Remembrance


Remembering Martin Luther King JR

Today is an important day where we remember the life of Martin Luther King Jr. A man who spoke so eloquently about non-violence and who sparked a consciousness within so many of us. 

Dr. King inspired me to seek out truth, to believe in peaceful protest, to understand that only with a voice can we be heard.  I learned that music is a powerful tool against ignorance and hate. that is what I will sing about today.

Here are some words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's last address April 3, 1968 at Riverside Church given the night before he was assassinated.

"....only when it was dark enough can you see the stars......non-violence or non-existence that is where we are today...we got to stay together and maintain unity...."

Fallen Friends for cousin Peter

Fallen Friends for my cousin Peter

On April 4th 1989 my cousin Peter VanderPutten lost his life to AIDS.  I lived with him in his wonderful guest house The Cypress House in Key West.  Like so many of the people around me, we were all consumed with the loss and devastation.  Today I especially like to remember Peter and want to share my song Fallen Friends with you. As we remember let's not forget that AIDS is still ravaging the world. 

It's a free download.

Fallen Friends_Cathy_Grier.mP3 

FALLEN FRIENDS words and music by Cathy Grier SESAC singerfish publishing 



Fallen Friends Words/Music-C. Grier Sesac Singerfish Publishing

Where Have My Friends Gone

They Have All Fallen

Where Are My Many Fallen Friends

I keep Thinking

I Hope They Are Somewhere

Where No Anger Resides And There's No Hate

Where No One Decides What's Wrong Or Right

Before Its Too Late


Where Have My Friends Gone

Last I Looked They Were Healthy And Funny, But

Where Are My Many Fallen Friends

I Keep Looking Again


And They're Falling

My Falling, Falling Friends

My Falling, Falling Friends


Some Saw Denial

And Their Lifestyles On Trial

Some Tried To Say

Why Has The Government Looked Far Away

Numbered Days Are All Gone


And They're Falling

Falling Falling Lovers, Falling Men

Falling Women, My Falling Friends


And What We Are Missing

By Not Taking A Stand

Are The Many Numbers Too Afraid To Lend A Hand

And There's Such A Demand

Lives That Are Cut Short

And It Doesn't Make Sense

Why Can't We, Why Can't We Rise Up

And Help Find A Cure, Others Aren't Sure


And They're Falling, Falling Lovers, Falling Men

Falling Women, My Falling Friends 

And They're Falling Children

Falling Lovers, Falling Men, Falling Women, My Falling Friends


Will The Falling Ever End

John Lennon 30 years ago today

On December 8, 1980, I was in Islamorada in the Florida Keys in a duo with Lenore Troia called 'Side By Side', performing in a resort lounge at night and enjoying 80 degree days, tourqouise water and believing a successful musical career was just around the corner.  John Lennon's death completely undid us. 

The shot heard around the earth.  Where were you?  John Lennon assassinated.  My Kennedy?  You bet. 

John Lennon as the leader of my musical generation visualized peace; wrote ‘Imagine’, gave us a chance to see the world as something we could change and make a better place for everyone.

A non-violent man lost to violence.

I still need to dream and believe in the John Lennon perspective of the world.

My value of life-far reaching, my ideal that we can be non-violent and bring people together is ever present. 

“You may say I’m a dreamer,

but I’m not the only one,

I hope someday you’ll join us

and the world will live as one.”

Here's a comment from my post last year: PS I think Double Fantasy was a great recording! 

This is really something. I was too young to feel the impact. For me MIchael Jackson was my John Lennon, my Elvis. My partner had surprised me with tickets to go see him in concert in London which of course didn't happen. Your post led me to want to more about Lennon, which led me to find out he received Album of The Year at the Grammy's for "Double Fantasy". I've never heard the album and am planning to get it. Thank you Cathy.

forgot to mention the part that struck me about my find about Lennon in my last post. He won that Grammy in '81 for "Double Fantasy" - the year after he was assassinated. Jose


on 2011-01-26 20:42 by NYC Subway Girl

Playing For Change Foundation new song Imagine is just the beginning of the Power To The People campaign.   Artists around the globe play along to John Lennon singing Imagine. Fantastic way to bring people and communities together through music.  Funds go to creating and developing schools.

Imagine from PlayingForChangeFoundation on Vimeo.

Playing For Change was started in 2001 by Mark Johnson and Whitney Kroenke.  Their Mission to connect the world through music.

The Power To The People Campaign seeks to advance John Lennon’s vision of peace by engaging artists and audiences to contribute to music education programs worldwide. Proceeds raised will help build music schools, support teachers and music programs, purchase instruments, and connect schools for cross-cultural learning and conflict resolution across borders. Music IS the power: Power to the People.

To stay informed about the PFC Foundation, the schools they are building, the lives they are touching, and how you can participate, please join their mailing list, and participate in this global movement.

9/11/10 where are we now?

As we begin the 10th year since the tragic events of September 11, 2001 how much has changed? How much stays the same?  I like to pause and remember this day, the fallen, to grieve our damaged city, to reflect about our country and it's loss with my beloved New Yorkers. But with all the talk about burning the Quran (Koran- popular American spelling), of fear rising over fear of tolerance and religious freedom, how can I silently remember without a huge pit in my stomach, with anger under my breath. How can we believe we have changed for the better?  Our country has a history of overcoming ignorance, persecution, bigotry, racism and sexism. Where tolerance and ultimately sacrifice has led to a society we'd like to believe is the most democratic, the most tolerant, the most advanced.  I the optimist have a heavy heart. Ground Zero is still a pit, a community center which would prove our acceptance and shared loss is being held up from being built by the same old bigotry and fear.

Let us remember those who died on September 11, 2001 but also those who died due to violence and wars created by the horrific cause and effect of those tragically fated 4 planes.  We can and must do better.  It is not with force that we kill force.  Why do we feel uncomfortable when hearing a belief that only love can end war. I do not believe, I know.  But what I also know is to change the dynamic from war to peace takes huge amounts of effort, faith and resources.  We have to believe and know that whatever we have done since 9/11/01 hasn't been working.

Let's try and make 2011 the year we begin to heal and consider more peaceful options than to ignite fear and ignorance.  Personally, I feel that the entire area called Ground Zero should be a memorial, a place to come and witness our possibilities while accepting and grieving our loss.  Let Cordoba Initiative build the community center in lower Manhattan. There has been so much resistance and fighting over the 'real estate value' that nothing is being accomplished and it's still an open wound, a construction tug of war. Let's not succumb to fear, but experience the best we have within ourselves to join together.  Today at the US Open, Rohan Bopanna of India and his doubles partner Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan are not just in the  semi-finals but are making history. They say "if they can be friends, so can their countries." They want to win to be able to share with their countries and the world that working together means finding commonality, letting the barriers down that keep us apart. I applaud them.

from the Cordoba Initiative website:

Why are you building “a mosque near Ground zero?”

Strictly speaking, it will not be a “mosque,” although it would have a prayer space on one of its 15 floors. At the beginning, no one considered the fact that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf Abdul Rauf’s current mosque is 12 blocks from the Ground Zero site, while the Park51 Community Center location is only 2 and one-half blocks away.  We never discussed wanting to be close to Ground Zero; our goal was to find a good real estate opportunity for a community center.  51 Park seemed to fit the bill.

But why so close to Ground Zero?

We were always close to the World Trade Center.  Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has been the Imam of a mosque twelve blocks from the Twin Towers for the last 27 years. American Muslims have been peacefully living, working and worshipping in this neighborhood all along and were also terribly affected by the horrific events of 9/11.

Here's my last years remembrance click here to read it.


on 2010-09-11 18:15 by NYC Subway Girl

am relieved to hear that the scheduled burning of the Koran has been cancelled today but with a disappointing caveat: under the condition that the Community Center not be built.  One step forward a thousand steps back.

On the positive side, in US Open tennis news:  the Bryan brothers edged Mr. Bopanna and Mr. Qureshi, 7-6, 7-6, to claim their record-setting 63rd doubles title. But in a moving address from center court, Mr. Qureshi pleaded for acceptance of his countrymen to loud applause. “Every time I come here I feel there’s a very wrong perception of Pakistan as a terrorist country,” he spoke into the microphone. “We want peace in this world as much as you guys want.”  (excerpt from Wall Street Journal)


I'm reflecting on the events of this day 8 years ago. Loss and tragedy have a way of etching into our fiber personally and collectively.  Like a cross section of an oak, we can see what years brought amazing growth and which ones presented intense hardship.  The ring that describes September 11th in my soul is clear in it's grief and amazement that such an event could happen, right here, in our city, in our country. Yet new rings encircle it now, each with their own reaction to the preceding years.

Today I remember Sergio Villanueva fireman from ladder 132 engine 4 and cousin of a friend of mine.  Singing at his memorial gave me the opportunity to express my incomprehensible fear and grief over the events of September 11.  I will forever be humbled by being allowed to be a part of his family for such an intimate sharing of their tragedy.  

My nephew Alex was only 10 at the time, today he is a recent member of the Coast Guard after serving as a firefighter in his hometown in NJ.  It's that pure and simple, the events of September 11th and of the heroism of people like Sergio inspired Alex to want to make a difference saving peoples lives.  

Today I am remembering.

History has a way of smoothing over jagged edges. We may not necessarily be healed, but the tragedy absorbs into life into something completely new.

May we never forget.