Stars gather in DC for Sept. 11 benefit

By CHRIS H. SIEROTY  |  Oct. 22, 2001 at 4:09 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Thousands of music fans gathered in Washington Sunday to see Michael Jackson, the Backstreet Boys, Aerosmith and an array of other pop stars in a marathon concert to raise money for the victims of last month's terrorist attacks.

"United We Stand: What More Can I Give?" raised about $2 million through the sale of 46,00 tickets.

The Backstreet Boys sang the national anthem to kick off the almost 11-hour, sold-out show at RFK Stadium. Mariah Carey, N'Sync, and Mya joined Jackson on stage for a performance of his single "What More Can I Give" to close out the marathon benefit.

Among the other performers on stage Sunday were Ricky Martin, James Brown, Bette Midler, Destiny's Child, Rod Stewart and the Goo Goo Dolls.

Over 600 family members of victims and relief workers from the Pentagon attack and American Airlines Flight 77 were in the audience. In addition N'Sync brought 6000 family members of victims of the World Trade Center attack from New York to Washington for the concert.

Security was tight as concertgoers were check with handheld metal detectors before they were allowed inside the stadium.

Organizers said parts of the concert, which ended early Monday, would be televised in a two-hour special on ABC, Nov. 1.

The $2 million raised Sunday will benefit the American Red Cross, Liberty Relief Fund, the Salvation Army Relief Fund, the Pentagon Relief Fund and Rewards For Justice.

In Nashville, country music stars Tim McGraw, Trisha Yearwood and Sara Evans were among those who took part in Sunday night's Country Freedom Concert at Nashville's Gaylord Entertainment Center.

Travis Tritt filmed a segment that was part of the concert. Tritt spoke with members of the military and their families at Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia.

"In talking to these brave men and women, you quickly discover that they ate confident, highly trained, and ready to go at a moment's notice when they are called," he said. "They give me yet another reason to be proud to be a citizen of the greatest nation on this planet."

Also on the bill were Martina McBride, Alan Jackson, Diamond Rio, Hank Williams, and Clint Black.

"You can never estimate music's power to heal," said McBride. "There has to be an outlet for people to get together and express all these things we're feeling -- grief, guilt, being scared, being uncertain."

Nashville's proceeds will go the Salvation Army. Organizers the Country Music Television cable network and Clear Channel Entertainment will not have figures on money raised by the event until early in the week.

The Washington and Nashville concerts followed an all-star concert Saturday in New York for police officers, firefighters and rescue workers that featured David Bowie, Billy Joel, The Who, and Paul McCartney.

Mick Jagger, Elton John, Jim Carrey, Eric Clapton, Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld were among more than two-dozen show business notables who appeared live or in the several films about New York. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., husband Bill Clinton and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., made appearances as well.

Throughout the nearly six-hour show, fire fighters, police, emergency workers, survivors of the Sept. 11 attacks and family members of the victims were brought on stage for recognition.

"New Yorkers and Americans have united as never before," Giuliani said. "We all have a renewed appreciation for the blessings of freedom, a renewed appreciate for our firemen and police."

Paul McCartney, the former Beatle whose father was a Liverpool fireman, brought the star-studded "Concert for New York City" to an end early Sunday morning with a song dedicated to freedom he said was written the day after the Sept. 11 attacks.

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