September 11, 2001 was one of America's darkest days, when anger and fear seemed to prevail; but in the midst of evil, a song of hope emerged.
In the 12 years since that painful day, so much has changed in the world, but that song can still remind hurting hearts to come together, to dream big, and remember that God will guide the way into better days come.
Christian music singer Jennifer LaMountain and pianist Kelly Mowrer wrote that sentiment at the end of that horrific week on their way to a ministry event in Atlanta.
"It was so eery and weird driving to Atlanta with no planes flying, and your heart just goes out to everybody who was hurting and in shock over it all," LaMountain recounted in a recent interview. "I started driving from Jacksonville and Kelly started driving from Pennsylvania, and this was a time before Kelly had a cell phone. Every now and then along my drive, Kelly would stop at a pay phone and call me saying, 'I got an idea for a song. I know everybody's going to sing patriotic songs and we're going to want to share with what's happened this week, but we've got to do our own song.' So, she would stop and pull off at a phone booth, call me, and tell me another phrase she had thought of, and we'd bounce things back and forth. So, we were converging on Atlanta as we talked through this song."
That Saturday evening after a quick rehearsal, LaMountain and Mowrer performed "Together We Will Stand" for the first time as their "offering" of how they had felt for the week.
"We were so intent on needing to share our own thoughts rather than "God Bless America" that no matter what the song ended up being we were going to share it that night," LaMountain said. "Beyond that we were not necessarily wanting it to have a life of its own."
But Lamountain was in the process of song selection for a new recording, and once her producer heard her new song, he immediately decided it should go on the album.
Soon after that, the president of Morning Song Music, LaMountain's record label, was contacted by the television ministry It Is Written, asking for a song to use for the ending of a 9/11 tribute program they would be airing, and for part of a public service announcement they were making for placements in Chicago and New York.
"It was because of that call from It Is Written that the song got the kind of press that it ended up getting," LaMountain said. "We had already laid a rythm track for this song because I planned to put it on my album. Within three days we did a full music video shoot. It all happened real fast."
"Together We Will Stand" did take on a life of its own. LaMountain and Mowrer received a Telly Award as a result of the song's placement in those public service announcements. The song has been performed by multiple artists in churches and concert halls, has been used as a theme song for an emergency response ministry, was featured during the 2004 Stand for the Family rallies with Dr. James Dobson, but most importantly it has encouraged countless lives impacted by terror.
12 years later, requests for LaMountain's performance of the song are fewer, and most people have picked up the pieces and gone on with their daily lives, rarely pausing to remember how they felt that day. But the core message of "Together We Will Stand" and so many other songs that LaMountain sings in her ministry speak hope into the hearts of broken lives - whether broken by something as public as 9/11, or broken by the painful private events that may seem ordinary but for so many become their own personal September 11.
Using 9/11 as an example of what she may say to teach her young son how to respond to these hard events in life, LaMountain reflected, "People hurt each other. There was a terrible, terrible thing where individuals took control of a situation, and they hurt thousands and thousands of people. We need to understand that God, even in those situations is in control, and that He has a plan that will take us beyond the situation."
The last chorus of "Together We Will Stand" says, "Freedom's flag still waves reminding us again God will guide our way. Take my hand. Together we will stand."
"That would probably be the biggest life lesson that any of us could learn through trauma, sorrow, and loss," LaMountain said.
For more information about Jennifer LaMountain, visit www.JenniferLaMoutain.com