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Bring 'em Home, Part 1: Mark Mulcahy and Michael Stipe

Bring 'em Home Now: a concert to benefit Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War
March 20 at Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC
Michael Stipe
Peaches
Fischerspooner
Rufus Wainwright
Devendra Banhart
All photos (c) Christopher Kontoes

[Our friend, photographer Christopher Kontoes, filed this report from NYC last night; his friend, Springfield native and former Miracle Legion dude Mark Mulcahy, was one of several folks -- Rain Phoenix, sister of River, was another -- who joined Michael Stipe onstage for an epic anti-war concert at Hammerstein Ballroom. Part 2 coming soon. -- OTD]

i flew in NYC on 9.11 - minutes in front of the first plane that hit...and a few minutes after the second plane hit.  we flew right over the first tower and saw it burning... i looked right out my window and the pilot said:  "we are going to tilt the plane a bit so you can see what will most likely be tomorrows headlines... there appears to be a fire in one of the towers... we landed and all the phones hit at once... "it was a plane?  another plane?"  we all knew it was terrorists.  we got off. all flights shut down.  no word on anything.  no police that i even recall.  nothing.  we all streamed out of laguardia ... no idea what to do... just get out of there... i remember just feeling almost nothing... calm or focused... just get out... call family... basics... it was a gorgeous day.  odd thing to note, but it was.  i could see the smoke above the airport in the skyline.  hotels all full.  all roads shut down.  they has set up TV's in a function hall.  i went in. guliani (sp) on the air... live... i heard the question by a reporter: "what is the status of the towers?"  "they are down."  "they are down? which one?"  "they are both down."  i felt nothing.  i was afraid, but it was well beyond anything i could recognize.  just get home.  not sure how.  i had a falling out with my friend years before who lived in queens.  had not spoke a word to each other in years.  i looked at the lawn and thought:  i can sleep here.  phones all jammed.  nothing.  got a quick line out to a friend back in boson.  "please call peter."  got through.  message back to me.  "just get here."  i got there.  went to get his girlfriend.  she had been covered is ash getting out of her
office.  she was terrified.  we went to get her.  stayed at her place a few miles from the site.  smoke.  just smoke.  we had dinner that night.  calm summer night.  dinner.  fire station across the way with flowers thing on the garage door.  posters of the missing going up.

got out to a another friend of peters in the city later on... press conference by the president.  we were out of our minds... but nobody knew what to think.  i didn't.  later or before.  it's hard to get it straight now... peters' girlfriend managed a band in brooklyn.  went to brooklyn.  we sat staring at the TV... a shot they stopped running... french TV crew (i think they were french) filming a documentary... one shot... plane slamming into building... long shot... then another, the one i never saw again... straight on into the building... it seemed like a few hundred yards from the ground... slamming into the tower... what do we do?

i got back on the train to the city.  a week later.  swat teams on the platform... bomb sniffing dogs... it was over.

Last night my friend mark played this benefit concert.  i adore him.  he sent a song he'd written to michael stipe.  michael asked him to come and perform it with him.  so i came back to the city and took these photographs.  this war is something that i can't think about.  it's like being there in NYC that day... the rest of the days before i got home. my head just can't deal with it.  we told to be terrified.  i was.  we went to war on the back of that message and it's sickening.  each day, each dead person: soldier, civilian... like that day... my head just won't ever understand any part of any of it.

-- Christopher Kontoes

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