On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Stevens Institute professor and Jersey City resident David Musial stood on his balcony overlooking lower Manhattan, uploading a song he had written about the first bombing of the World Trade Center called “Earthquake.” (Coincidentally, during his interview with The Reporter last week, the Virginia earthquake shook his Jersey City residence.)
As he was speaking on the phone with his father on that morning 10 years ago, he heard a loud boom. He looked outside and thought he saw a small fire at the World Trade Center.
He began filming, aiming his camera toward lower Manhattan. Like many after the second plane hit, he realized that the United States was under attack. So, trapped inside his apartment with most of Jersey City shut down, Musial, a music technology professor, began writing a song that came to be called “Brave New American Heroes.”
The song is a part of the official 9/11 Registry for artists.
Manny and Joy Medina, now in their early 20s, sang the song shortly after the events on 9/11.
Now, for the 10-year anniversary, the song is a part of the official 9/11 Registry for artists (Registry.National911Memorial.org) and the video of their performance can be found on YouTube.
The song changed their lives
Louis Medina reflected on the song last week.
“I’m very proud of them,” Medina said of his children. “David took them around the World Trade Center after [9/11] to shoot video footage. They did a great job singing.”
Louis said that the song has been “under the radar,” and he’s glad that it’s been uploaded to YouTube and is part of the registry now.
“It’s a heartfelt song,” Louis said.
Joy Medina, now 23, is studying to earn a communications degree. She hopes to be an on-air broadcaster, and Musial thinks she has the talent to do it.
“People have been paying attention more than usual to the song,” Joy said. “It’s a tribute to everyone that has been affected by 9/11. That day was definitely something that affected all of us.”
Musial said that after the song was released, the duo of Manny and Joy, known as MJ Medina, traveled to a summer camp in the Catskills to sing for children whose parents died on 9/11. The camp was started in memory of a man who worked in the World Trade Center.
Joy said it has been a great experience to be able to share her talents with people.
Manny and Joy also toured the country, singing positive messages and songs with Musial’s guidance.
MJ Medina was on the cusp of becoming a big pop brother-sister duo, Musial said, adding that wherever they went, they would sing for an hour and then sign autographs.
The music had a positive message, and still sounded exactly like the songs children would hear on the radio at the time, Musial said.
“It’s molded me into the person that I am now,” Joy said. “In terms of my confidence and just wanting to make a difference in the world in a positive way, it’s helped.”
Manny is currently in boot camp in Texas, preparing for the Air Force. Louis said Manny always wanted to be an astronaut, a dream he still hopes to accomplish some day.
The song also led to a Red Ribbon Award for Musial and the duo known as MJ Medina. The Red Ribbon award is a Department of Justice initiative that started after Enrique Camarena, a former Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent, died in the line of duty in Mexico. Shortly after the agent’s death, people started leaving red ribbons in the agent’s memory. The award was issued to Musial and MJ Medina in Washington, D.C.
“Brave New American Heroes” has also brought attention to the singers, from former First Lady Laura Bush and from The Pentagon, who reached out to Musial after they heard the song.
More information about the song can be found on oneworldartists.com. To see the 9/11 Registry, visit Registry.National911memorial.org.
Ray Smith may be reached at RSmith@hudsonreporter.com