In Recognition of September 11, 2001
Honoring the Memory of 9/11
Eleven years ago, the World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked by terrorists, and thousands of innocent American citizens lost their lives. In their honor, we present the following story from another time period in our history...the Civil War. It was written by Augustus M. Erwin, Captain, Co. E. 117 Reg’t. N.Y. Infantry, and first presented on September 11, 1888.
At the close of a hot, sultry day during which the fighting had been unusually severe, our ears were suddenly greeted by the sound of music from a band stationed in the Rebel Rifle pits just opposite our own Regimental position. We were not long in recognizing the air as that of the Bonny Blue Flag. The effect of the music upon the Rebels seems to be exhilarating while upon our own troops it produced an entirely different effect.
The General commanding our Division hearing the music hurried the band stationed at his H’d. Qtrs. into the Rifle pit and they were in position and ready to play as soon as the Rebel band had finished their selection. Before the Rebel yell had fairly subsided the Yankee band commenced to play the Star Spangled Banner. The enthusiasm it created among our troops was immense. Men threw their hats high into the air. Officers waived aloft their swords. The old battle worn, bullet pierced flags were hastily unfurled and defiantly waived above our works in the face of the foe, while cheer upon cheer burst from our excited soldiers. The tumult lasted some minutes and before it had entirely died away the Rebels began Maryland My Maryland. Our band responded with Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean. Then the Rebels played Dixie and were answered with Yankee Doodle.
Thus they alternated until the shades of night began to settle upon us and as if wearying of the contest and desiring to retire, the Confederate Musicians began to play Home Sweet Home. Immediately catching the inspiration our own band joined with them and the two bands played in unison that dear old tune.
A solemn hush settled upon both lines. The desultory firing which had not ceased for many a day stopped. The tender cord had been touched and could the Soldiers have settled the war then, hands would have been stretched toward each other across the bloody chasm. I saw men weep who were unaccustomed to shedding tears... I buried my face in my hands and throwing myself upon the ground I wept bitter tears for home.
Home! To the weary traveler wandering among strangers in a far away clime, to the mariner tossed hither and thither upon the billowy ocean, to the soldier engaged in mortal combat with his foe, there is no other word that expresses so much of security, contentment, comfort, peace and love as that fond word HOME!