Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Blur -- "Tender" (1997)

Tender is the day
The demons go away
Lord, I need to find
Someone who can heal my mind
Come on, come on, come on 
Get through it

I visited Joplin less than two weeks after an F5 tornado had devastated my home town on May 22 of this year.  Here's a link to the first of several 2 or 3 lines posts about that visit.

I went back to Joplin last month to visit my parents.  Much has been done since my first visit.  Much remains to be done.  

I spent a couple of hours each day just walking through the storm-ravaged areas, listening to music on my iPod and taking pictures with my Blackberry.  I felt a little odd doing this -- voyeurism is not a particularly noble activity -- but I couldn't resist.

I immediately noticed something new on my walks last month -- on almost every street corner, there were small hand-painted wooden stars atop yard-high stakes driven into the ground.

Here's an example:

Here's another:

To understand where the wooden stars came from and what they signify, we have to go back a few years.

The story of the wooden stars begins in December 2006, when New York Says Thank You Foundation volunteers went to Groesbeck, Texas to help rebuild the home of James and Eva Vincent, which had been destroyed by a tornado.  Here's a link to a story about that effort.

The Vincents helped others from New York Says Thank You to rebuild the homes of tornado victims in Greensburg, Kansas in September 2008.  The Vincents brought wood left over from the construction of their home to Greensburg, where volunteers cut out wooden stars and gave them to local children, who painted them, wrote inspirational messages on them, attached them to wooden stakes, and placed them throughout the town.

This year, on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the Vincents and dozens of New York Says Thank You Foundation volunteers came to Joplin and distributed 3189 "Stars of HOPE" to Joplin children.  (That's one for every American killed in the 9/11 attacks and every Joplin tornado victim.)  Here's a link to the Foundation's press release about the "Stars of HOPE" and the culmination of the nationwide tour of "The National 9/11 Flag," which took place in Joplin on 9/11/2011.

Here are some of the stars that had 9/11 references:

 Tracey Vitchers, the director of "The 9/12 Generation Project" -- an initiative launched by the Foundation, which intends to use the legacy of September 12, 2001 (a day that was marked by countless acts of kindness and humanity) to educate, inspire, and activate schoolchildren all across the country -- wrote this about Joplin and the "Stars of HOPE":

It was no small thing to watch Joplin children who survived the tornado painting Stars of HOPE alongside World War II veterans, students from Missouri Southern State University, members of the FDNY [Fire Department of New York], and countless other Joplin residents on the weekend of the tenth anniversary of September 11.  

It was pure chance -- I think -- that this Blur song came up on my iPod while I was walking through my old neighborhood, on streets that I walked countless times as a child going to and from school or to visit friends.  I don't remember how many times I hit the "repeat" button, but it was a lot.  There were a lot of stars to see.


And finally:

Here's more from chapter 11 of Job.  2 or 3 lines hopes that these words will come true soon for everyone in Joplin.

You will surely forget your trouble, 
Recalling it only as waters gone by.
Life will be brighter than noonday,
And darkness will become like morning.
You will be secure, because there is hope;
You will look about you and take your rest in safety.
You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid.

Here's "Tender," from Blur's sixth studio album, 13, which was released in 1997.  "Tender" was written by Damon Albarn, the band's singer and primary songwriter, and was apparently inspired by Albarn's unhappy love affair with Elastica singer Justine Frischmann, who moved to the U.S. after that band broke up, married a University of California-Davis professor of atmospheric science, and became an abstract painter.

Here's a link you can use to order the song from Amazon:

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