IN this edition of Monday’s Musical Musings, Scott Mathie, Head of Year 9 and Teacher of Chemistry, shares his love of Bruce Springsteen and the song ‘The Rising’.

At many different times in my life, I have always taken comfort in listening to music. Whether it was singing along to ‘Loch Lomond’ by Runrig during half time at Hampden while watching Scotland play, or having one of Bruce Springsteen’s songs, ‘If I should fall behind’ read by a family member at Mrs Gibson and I’s wedding in the Cathedral. My music interests have varied as time has gone on. Growing up, I enjoyed Hip Hop and Rap music and then found myself immersed in Indie music in the early 00’s, as a keen gig goer and the occasional festival. More recently, my choices have mellowed, with Country music and Americana being my big influences. I have always enjoyed the simplicity and the happiness in Country music that gives it the famous Nashville phrase “Three chords and the truth”.

However, it was when I went to see Bruce Springsteen live at Glasgow in 2009 that my musical tastes changed towards this Americana and onto Country music. I was always a fan of his big hits, but after witnessing the great man live, he became an obsession. I then went on to see him at the Olympic Stadium in London and more recently, the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid. The latter being one of my fondest memories during my time in Spain. One of his most impressive songs is ‘The Rising’ which I have always found very uplifting, and I would frequently use it as my first song on a running playlist. The song was used at the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2008 and he clearly found it inspiring too. I always found it very motivational. This was until more recently, when I delved into the lyrics and the true meaning of the song. It tells the sad story of a firefighter going up one of the Twin Towers on the day of 9/11 and consequently tragically dying in the disaster.

Can’t see nothing in front of me
Can’t see nothing coming up behind
Make my way through this darkness
I can’t feel nothing but this chain that binds me
Lost track of how far I’ve gone
How far I’ve gone, how high I’ve climbed
On my back’s a sixty-pound stone
On my shoulder, a half-mile line

When I hear the song now, I no longer can listen to it in the same sense and to be honest, do not listen to it as often. I look at it in a different light and it has made me think about how selfless the firefighters and first responders were that day.

As a school we have just marked the end of Anti Bullying Week and have encouraged students to take part in ‘One Kind Word’. It is important to consider others’ thoughts and feelings before making rash decisions or judgements. When you consider how brave the first responders were, how they were taking a huge risk and knew how unlikely a desirable outcome would be. Although we are not put in situations as bleak as 9/11, there are times in life where we have to make difficult decisions and choices. Particularly at school, we all have a responsibility of looking out for one another. At times I am sure many of us have been in, or witnessed, a situation where it is easier to turn a blind eye than be brave and do the right thing. When put in a situation like this myself, I think about ‘The Rising’ and the actions of the first responders on that fateful day, how they performed their duty despite the difficulties. Throughout my life I remind myself, what selfless actions can I do to show support to others? As you journey through life it is important to consider others around you and what you are doing to support one another.

Remember selflessness and ‘One Kind Word’ can make a huge difference.

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