Today, on the eleventh anniversary of the September 11th attack, it seems apropos to offer up Bruce Springsteen’s poignant title cut from his 2002 album, “The Rising.” The song can be interpreted in various ways, but I’m certain that the profound lyrics deal with optimism even in the worst of circumstances. Springsteen’s artistic sense of purpose and vision always demonstrate strong wordplay, character development and idealism. And, nearly three decades after his masterpiece “Born to Run” was released in 1975, “The Rising” was the great rocker’s contribution of emotion and sincerity to help the Nation heal. The Boss’ first collaboration with the E Street Band in 18 years was an expression of hope and enlightenment. Springsteen’s noble statement in the powerful title cut gives us a definitive call for a fresh start.
To start anew requires a climb of many levels. In “The Rising,” a fireman is climbing a tower, but his calling is also an ascent to Heaven. When the chorus joins with “Come on up, lay your hands in mine. Come on up for the rising,” it’s a beckoning call for unity and a welcome to the other souls rising too. It’s a type of unity that the entire World needs. When Springsteen sings “Li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li,” I do believe that he’s referring to another form of blessed life, one to be embraced rather than feared. He reinforces that message with the line about “a dream of life comes to me like a catfish dancin’ on the end of the line.”
Springsteen, the profound storyteller, takes a tragic event of infamy to make a triumphant statement about overcoming death and rising to life on another shore. It’s also a call for awareness of the chain that binds, the sixty-pound stone, and half mile of line that impede us. The song optimistically deals with redemption, sacrifice and courage. Despite all the sadness, tears, sorrow and fear that one may encounter, you should never lose focus of the “dream of life.” That, simply put, is what will result in a fresh start … not only for those directly impacted by tragedy but also for the entire Nation and World as peace, unity, understanding and compassion take hold on a global scale.