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The Day Our Innocence Died

The pop song American Pie reconfigured to fit 9/11 memories.

The Day Our Innocence Died

By midnightraider61
Based on the song “American Pie” by Don McLean

“The Day the Music Died” was February 3, 1959, the day Buddy Holly’s plane went down in a corn field. Don McLean wrote and recorded this song in 1973; at the time it was the longest single in popular-music history because it had so much to tell.

For all the people who lived through September 11, 2001 and can remember that day. There are a lot of them because no one in America who lived through that day EVER forgot any detail. This is my story of that day, with a nod to some friends who had their own feelings about that day.

(Verse 1)

September eleventh
Two thousand one,
Commuters drove to work
Under a late summer sun

At twelve minutes to nine …

News Talk in the morning
Had a story come in,
A plane had hit one of
The Towers Twin,

How odd it seemed at the time …

Sitting in my car at
A McDonald’s breakfast line,
Seven minutes before work started,
I would cut it pretty fine,

As I drove on to work
I didn’t know I crossed the line
The day
Our innocence


Oh they were singing

Bye bye
Miss American Pie,
Our invincible myth
Had turned into a lie,

Nineteen fanatics
On a monstrous high

This will be the day
That I die …
This will be the day
That I die!

(Verse 2)

The Empire State Building
Had been hit before,
By a military plane
Late in the Second World War.
Fourteen killed but
The building survived …

But a few seconds before
Nine oh three,
A photographer’s image
Allowed us to see

A massive jet
With its wings banked
So as to set
An impact zone six stories high
Like a nuclear bomb
In the sky,

On the day
Our innocence


And they were singing
Bye bye
Miss American Pie,
This is no God damned
Way to die …

In the grip of madmen
With false heaven in their eye …
This is no way to die …
This is no way to die.

(Verse 3)

Those above the impact
Had no chance in Hell,
Some battered open windows,
Jumped out and fell

Like so much debris.

Others looked for ways
To walk or ride down,
To the plaza
Underneath the ground,

Where they might somehow
If adrenaline gave them
A surge.

There was yet no thought
The towers might fall,
Millions of tons
Of steel and glass stacked tall,

Obliterating any trace
Of three thousand of
The human race.

So firefighters went in
To clear a path,
For people who still lived
In the aftermath,

Were they heroes
Or fools
Or both?

We glorify all
Who died in that blast,
Regardless of their
Shadowed past,

And curse across all lines
That faith whose creeping

Sprouted these men
And thousands more
Who saw Babylon
Ruled by the whore

And savagely attacked
All who discounted
Their tract.

For centuries there had been
Terrible fights,
Among people naming
Wrongs or rights,

Until there was no good side …

The day
Our innocence


And they were singing
Bye, bye,
Miss American Pie,

From disbelief and shock
Our eyes went dry,
Only later when it sunk in
Were we able to cry,

“Is this the day
That I die?”

“Is this the day
That I die?”

(Verse 4)

On our soil this was the first
Overt act of war,
Since Pearl Harbor Day
Nearly 60 years before,

And we know what happened
Then …

But this time the attackers numbered
Only a few,
Conspirators totaled maybe
Three hundred two,

Could we blame an
Entire race,
Which covered a third
Of the Earth’s face?

Two billion souls,
Were they all trained to hate
And bully their way
Through to Heaven’s Gate,

Logic would say no …

But were they all held below

The thumbs of Salafists, Wahabbists, Taliban,
Other groups recruiting the dregs of man
Who held unquestioned sway
Like Nazis or Stalinists
in their day?

If Congress had been
Asked to declare war,
Would they have done so, knowing
What was in store?

Those previous wars had been
Savage to the core,
Death traps abounded
Throughout sea and shore

Not to mention what we were
Fighting for …
There was no way out
When we were in full bore

The day
Our innocence


And they were singing
Bye, bye
Miss American Pie,
We might as well have been drinking
Whiskey and rye,
Pain, fear and rage would sting us
Like a giant gadfly,

‘Til we came to the day
We would die …
‘Til we came to the day
We would die.

(Verse 5)

The gadfly stings us
To this day,
Conspiracy theorists whisper
“There was no way

The buildings went down from
The planes alone.”

Some blame conspirators
From the CIA,
Saying intact passports
Were found that day

Conveniently placed
By searchers …

Others say the buildings
Couldn’t simply fall
Unless hidden booby traps
Weakened every wall

Since there no longer is a way
to see
In the long-since removed

And others say
We deserved what we got,
A country’s soul
Penetrated with rot,

They say we made excuses
To go to war
And profit from it
Like Babylon’s whore

Our lives tied to balance sheets.

And when we fought
It was as bad as we thought …
Only by inches
Could we control a spot

And the losses were widely known …

So we backed down
Slowly rather than quick,
Like when Jack Flash
Sat on a candlestick,

From all out to kind of a simmer.

And as it stands
We see no end,
Just a few candles
Blowing out
In the wind,

Like Osama bin Laden
Cut down to amend

The day
Our innocence


And now we’re singing
Bye, Bye,
Miss American Pie,
Now you’re choked in
Every time you will fly,

In the hopes they will
Vicious people who try

To shatter
The clear blue sky …
To shatter
The clear blue sky.

(Verse 6)

On September eleventh
In the year Twenty Twelve,
I thought I had written out
All that my mind
Could delve,

But the story didn’t end
That day …

An amateur film that
Said some wild things
About the Prophet
Went viral and sprouted
Dragon’s wings …

It prompted people to riot
And slay …

The reaction here was of
Stunned disbelief,
But the rioters may have felt a
Sense of relief,

That we turned against the
Film maker …
Have our values gone
In the shaker?

It looked like we would
To the murderers
Of our guys,

But was that really wise?
Did they cut us
Down to size?


And I am singing

Bye, Bye,
Miss American Pie,
Are we like past appeasers
Who believed every lie?
Do we fear others’
Patience to try,

While once again
Our people

While once again
Our people

(The music slows to a slow adagio; final verse)

Now we stand at a crossroads
As we contemplate
The role of our country
As we pass through the date,
Of the anniversary
Of the fate

Of those people we hardly
Knew …

People on many sides
Cry for vengeance still,
Upon these and other
People who kill

Just to keep the
Horror alive …

Perhaps these lines create
A wrong impression,
As my feelings tumble out
In confused

But it’s my form of
Toward the day
Our innocence

(Final chorus)

And we are singing

Bye, bye,
Miss American Pie,
Got no Chevy, got no levee,
But my eyes still do cry

For those people who lived
And those people who died
And carrying on
With a sigh …

And carrying on
With a

(Two piano chords and silence)

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

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