September 10th, 2006


Seven Firemen Angels

For two years I sent this in as my 9/11 column, and even though I didn't this year I still felt compelled to send it out into the ether, and see where it lands:

Clearly, September 11 is a date that will resonate for Americans for many decades to come, and will no doubt be the December 7, 1941 of our generation. Just as clearly, a lot of ink will be drained in a continuing quest to pay tribute to those who died that day, both rescuers and civilians in all four locations.

On September 11, 2002, a song started running through my head, and I couldn't get rid of it. I hadn't heard "Seven Spanish Angels" for years, but it was there as plainly as if Willie was walking alongside me, belting it out. It drove me nuts. Then, weeks later, as I was singing along (in private), I suddenly heard myself say,

"There were seven firemen angels . . ."

And it clicked.

Within an hour I had the entire chorus worked out, and I thought it wasn't half bad considering I'm no song writer. You can argue that it should be "fireFIGHTER", and you can also ask, quite reasonably, "why seven?" I don't know. Why not? I guess songwriters are allowed to take a certain amount poetic license.

Then I put the whole thing aside and tried to forget it. Fat chance. It was like a signal was being beamed directly into my brain, and I finally realized I couldn't shut it off until I wrote the whole song -- divine inspiration or incipient insanity, take your pick.

So I took the song, which was written by Eddie Setson and Troy Seals in 1985, and put my own words to it. Now it's finished, and I present it to you because I felt I HAD to show it to someone. As I said, I'm no songwriter, but it wasn't going to leave me alone until I finished it. Besides, as they say about homemade gifts, isn't it the thought that counts? Here's a web link to the original lyrics, as sung by Willie Nelson and Ray Charles:

I hope you'll take it in the spirit in which it's intended:

He looked down into the fires,
and tears fall at the sight.
He saw four funeral pyres
that couldn't be made right.

Three thousand people dying,
and they didn't know what for.
Now He saw his children crying,
as their nation went to war.

There were seven firemen Angels
who were dispatched by the Son.
They were coming for the others
who had gone on their last run.

When the buildings fell,
and the smoke cleared
there was thunder from the Throne.
And seven firemen Angels
took the other Angels home.

They reached down and took the badges
that lay on the smoldering ground.
There were cop and medic patches
from the victims all around.

But the bodies there were hollow
as the Angels passed that way.
for they called out, "spirits, follow"
and took them home that day.

There were seven medic Angels
where the buildings had stood once.
They were coming for the others
who had made their last response.

When the buildings fell,
and the smoke cleared
there was thunder from the Throne,
and seven medic Angels
took the other Angels home.

The sons and wives and daughters
cried "how could such a thing be?"
And from high above the Lord replied,
"It's the price of being free."

"For the world is full of people,
who would do such things today
but you can't give in to evil
so God bless the U.S.A."

There were seven police Angels
who answered that last call.
they were crying for the others,
as they watched their comrades fall.

When the buildings fell,
and the smoke cleared
there was thunder from the Throne,
and seven police Angels
took the other Angels home.
  • Current Music
    7 Spanish Angels