Alicia Keys

NY DailyHome | News    ·    October 2nd, 2004

Here’s Alicia’s NY Daily News column that was published on September 12th 2004 (I believe…)

Why we ought to travel even more after 9/11

On that particular day, like any girl who was up too late in the city the night before, I was curled up in a tangle of sheets trying my damnedest to pull myself out of bed.

It was about 9 a.m. and I had been going strong over the last couple of months, so I was tired.

I remember the phone was ringing, that annoying kind of ring, constant and steady and persistent! I knew I had to get out of bed, and I figured it was a wakeup call to double-check I hadn’t overslept. I put my feet on the ground and groggily made my way to the living room. The phone kept ringing, but I wasn’t ready to speak yet. Instead I turned on the TV for some background noise as I was trying to get myself together. Who won’t stop calling? And why?! I sat down on the couch.

The news was everywhere. The planes.

The towers.

The flames.

I know I don’t need to say more, especially to a New Yorker.

I watched in confusion. Stunned, my eyes filling with a pool of helpless tears. Why?! I couldn’t fully register the impact of that moment. Did any of us? I just knew I wasn’t going anywhere that day. None of us was.

I don’t want to go into too much more detail about the actual day or days that followed. The panic, the fury, the beginning of a new world as we know it in many ways. I think we have all gone over it a million times, in a million different ways. We still do.

We always will. All of us, all around the world, experienced that day in a way that will never be erased. Ever! Possibly, it has never been clearer that we were all living through history. I remember feeling vividly closer to understanding the way that life is for people everywhere else, in those far-away places we are told to feel so threatened by.

Blown to dust. Disheveled. Ruined. Destroyed.

That was New York three years ago.

Watching New York unite was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I’ve lived here my whole life and have always witnessed the dog-eat-dog mentality, the rat race. Even been a part of it. Who hasn’t?

I mean, that’s part of the thrill, the driving force of New York City. It’s part of what makes us completely different from anywhere else in the world. No one seems to be more determined or more focused than New Yorkers. Nobody cares about the glory of success as much as we do. So watching us put that pride to the side and show compassion and sensitivity, sharing tears and memories, making promises of living life more completely was like suddenly, we got it.

What we all share

Traveling the world now, I notice that the places I visit have people with the same faces as me, the same broken hearts over the state of the world, the same hope that we will look past our physical differences and see the power in our unity. I love traveling even more now, because I feel like I can see with my own eyes what’s really going on.

I feel like more than ever, we aren’t so damn different. In fact, we are all very much the same. We are all just people trying to find our way out here, looking to find freedom in its many different forms.

But what about now?

We can’t just sit back and let history happen to us and not be a part of changing it. It’s important that we learn more and question more, that we become more actively involved in our lives, more than just day-to-day work, food and fun and the bubbles of selfishness that we call life. We need to care about a different kind of race — the human race.

To me, that’s what the anniversary of 9/11 means. The numbers represent the emergency, the urgency. One of its effects, I believe, was to make us alert, aware, to wake us up! All of us! From the Middle East to the Mediterranean, from Africa to New York.

We’re awake now. So, what are we going to do about it?

Contrary to popular belief, I feel now it’s even more important to continue to travel. Go where you’ve never been before. Visit the world to see the way different people live, what they think and believe, so we can draw our own conclusions and become closer as a human race. If we stay where it’s “safe,” we’ll fall for what anyone tells us to. I may be a dreamer, but I believe in us. I don’t care what anyone wants me to think, I know now more than ever, we need each other and if we stay together, I have faith in what the future will bring.

Thx 2 EricaN



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One Response to “NY Daily News”

  1. malena Says:

    im yo biggest fan even when u didnt come out wit a song in a grip i still looked up 2 u

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