- The Washington Times - Monday, October 22, 2001

Music superstars checked their egos at the security gates of RFK Stadium and put patriotism on display yesterday during the "United We Stand: What More Can I Give?" concert before a full house decked out in red, white and blue.
The star-studded lineup included performances by artists who represent just about every facet of American pop culture. From pop guru Michael Jackson to meat-and-potatoes rockers Aerosmith to the "Godfather of Soul" James Brown to folk singer Carole King, the thousands of spectators were treated to a who's who of Billboard chart-toppers.
Event organizers said the concert one of three held over the weekend was sold out, with 46,000 tickets purchased, but there were many empty seats around the stadium.
And while the music was extraordinary and plentiful in the nine-hour concert, the message of Americans standing in defiance of terrorism and showing support for the families of the 189 persons killed in the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon and about 5,000 killed in the World Trade Center was louder than any guitar.
"People are just psyched to do whatever they can to give back, and music is very healing everyone can enjoy it," said Kerry McIlroy, 26, a third-year law student at George Washington University.
Miss McIlroy was with friends who more than willingly paid $75 to have ground-level seats.
Another group of students from the university said that unlike the school's administration, which closed its doors in anticipation of IMF-World Bank protests that never happened, they needed to come to the concert to show their everyday lives could not be disrupted by fear.
"We have no reason not to come," said senior Lauren Koblitz, 21. "We go to school here, what's our excuse for not coming? Homework?"
"We're here to support America," said Amanda Pupino, 18. The University of Maryland freshman was with five friends who were all from Rockland County, N.Y. The concert, all of them agreed, was special because their hometowns are about 25 minutes away from lower Manhattan, where Miss Pupino's father is helping clear out rubble at the demolished World Trade Center as a New York City firefighter.
"He's having a tough time with it," Miss Pupino said of her dad. "I wish I could be home."
A native of Colombia, where terrorism is an everyday occurrence, Martha Cicilia, 48, said the concert shows that America stands strong.
"Nothing will stop us," said Mrs. Cicilia, who now lives in Vienna with her husband and two children. "You cannot show your fear."
Her husband, Rourke O'Flaherty, 49, said attacks like those seen last month "are still new to us," and that coming to the concert "sends a statement" that terrorists cannot shake the spirit of Americans.
About $2 million was expected to be raised from the event, withpeoceeds going to the American Red Cross Liberty Fund, the Salvation Army Relief Fund, the Pentagon Relief Fund and the Rewards for Justice Fund.
The audience which had been on its feet for almost the entire concert sat down at one point at the request of Bette Midler. "I want to sing you a song not of sorrow but of hope," Miss Midler said before her ballad "The Rose."
The crowd obliged but was on its feet again when she finished.
Among the other performers were Mariah Carey, 'N Sync, Destiny's Child and Michael Jackson. Parts of the concert will be televised on ABC Nov. 1.
All of the performers about 25 in all donated their services as did other organizations that helped put the massive show together. The $10 parking charge and sales from concessions and souvenirs also went to relief efforts.
Under a blanket of blue sky and sunshine, the Backstreet Boys kicked off the concert with a stirring a cappella rendition of the "Star-Spangled Banner" before electrifying the crowd with its hyped-up brand of pop that is a favorite of teen-age girls.
Like many of the performers and members of the audience, Old Glory was in vogue, with jeans, shirts and jackets bearing the Stars and Stripes. T-shirts reading "FDNY" from the New York City Fire Department were also on display.
Security was a matter of happenstance and chance, though, with some concertgoers being waved through despite having banned backpacks, with others being told they could not bring cameras in and being thoroughly searched.
There was one uneasy moment during the concert. That came when James Brown, after coming off of singing "Living in America" to a roaring audience, began singing "Sex Machine" and then, out of the blue, broke into "God Bless America" which the crowd sang along with then bounced right back into the uncanny song about the mechanics of the facts of life.

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