Letters: Sept. 11 Memories

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Michele Norris reads from listener emails about a story that aired on Friday's program.

MICHELE NORRIS, host: Time now for your comments. On Friday's program we aired interviews with nine people who shared their memories of September 10, 2001.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: It was like a normal day the day before.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: It was a normal day.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: A normal day.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: This was a normal day.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #3: It was just a normal day that we do every day.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #4: It was your normal summer day in western Pennsylvania.

NORRIS: They told us of the mundane turned poignant, a client, for instance, who tentatively set up an appointment for the 11th at the World Trade Center but never followed through. We also heard about tragic coincidences. Ted Olson told us how his wife came to be on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.

TED OLSON: On September 10, 2001, I was solicitor general of the United States. That day, I worked in my office. I had spoken at some length with my wife, Barbara. It was my birthday, September 11, and she wanted to be home with me that evening, September 10. And so, she changed a flight that would otherwise have called for her to leave for Los Angeles, where she was planning on doing some television interviews - Bill Maher, I think. And she re-arranged her schedule to leave the following morning, rather than the evening of September 10th.

NORRIS: Nina Slovic(ph) of Florence, Massachusetts, called our September 10th story moving and compelling. She writes this: It captured an essential and often overlooked truth, that life is at once completely ordinary while it's also mysterious, inexplicable, unpredictable and extraordinary. Beautiful job.

But several of you found our choice of music for that story jarring. Melissa Cardin(ph) of Rochester, New Hampshire, writes this: The piece was a nice reminder that we can't take anything for granted. But come on, using the song "Fallin'" by Alicia Keys, really? That's almost completely tasteless and disrespectful. I have high standards for you, NPR, and this was well below them.

And others agreed it was an inappropriate choice, given the song's title. Well, we chose the song for our story about September 10th not because of its title or its lyrics, which we did not play, but because it was a hit song the weeks before the attacks having recently charted at number one.


ALICIA KEYS: (Singing) I keep on fallin' in and out of love with you. I never...

NORRIS: Let us know what you think about anything you hear on this program. Go to NPR.org and click on Contact Us at the bottom of the page.

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