Bruce Springsteen wrote the song “The Rising” shortly after the devastating attacks on September 11th, 2001, in New York City. In the lyrics, he begins by taking the perspective of one of the firefighters that rushed into the attacked World Trade Center, which was where the key target of the attacks were, the Twin Towers. When taking this point of view, you see how Springsteen is not so much grieving and woefully remembering the lives lost, but more so seeing the courage and true heroism of those that charged in to save all the people that they could. This meaning is felt throughout the song, and particularly in lyrics such as, “I was wearing the cross of my calling.” This line struck me in particular because while it is a powerful declaration, it is not showing much of an emotional connection to the words that Springsteen is using, which may be a more accurate depiction of the perspective he is trying to step into. It is plainly putting the responsibility felt and taken on by the people that ran in to serve. 

The firefighters and others that rushed into the twin towers to save the lives they could likely knew that they were putting their own lives at great risk. This risk is a calling, as Springsteen refers to it as being, but it is also a heavy burden to bear.  So often the ways that people are called to be or act are too daunting, so they do not live up to what they could be. This calling can be experienced as being a burden, but also a duty. The dichotomous feeling is depicted well in the song. Lyrics such as, “May their precious blood bind me, Lord. as I stand before your fiery light.” It may not initially come off as representing this relationship, but to reference “their blood” is connecting to the blood and lives lost, and, immediately following this reference, speaking of the encountering of the spirit, “as I stand before your fiery light.”  In this line, Springsteen puts himself even more in this perspective as the subject meets the spirit in the lyric, “as I stand before your fiery light,” both the light being reached, but also the fiery nature it is met with. 

The Rising’s genre is Rock, which is fitting for the message and perspective that the song is delivering. This gives the passionate feel that is being conveyed, and you can hear it in a number of the lyrics Springsteen cries in it, such as, “There’s spirits above and behind me, faces gone black, eyes burning bright, may their precious blood bind me, Lord, as I stand before your fiery light.” Bruce Springsteen can sing this song with as much passion as he does in part because he is the one who wrote the lyrics, and clearly stepped into these perspectives in order to do so. It is a protesting perspective, and also one that at the same time has powerfully accepted the fates and rolls that must be lived. 

In a number of the last lyrics before the final chorus of “Come on up for the rising,” Springsteen upholds the bravery shown by those who tried to save the lives at risk, as well as the loss of those who died is shown. Lyrics such as, “Sky of longing and emptiness, sky of fullness, sky of blessed life.” This is seeing the truth of both what is lost and what is gained, something that is often hard to fully appreciate, especially when facing the loss. It is also something that, at least seems to be discouraged, as fitting something in a distinct category, such as people or situations, is easier for us to process.