In his PBS documentary The Civil War, Ken Burns prominently featured Jay Ungar’s fiddle piece Ashokan Farewell—among other things it was background to Paul Roebling’s reading of Sullivan Ballou’s final letter to his wife.
I always found that melody both wistful and engaging. On the morning of 9/11 a street musician happened to be playing it just outside of the Foggy Bottom Metro Station in the District of Columbia. Hearing it on the way to work put me in pretty fair, if somewhat reflective, mood. Well that changed.
After I finally got home that afternoon, I was watching TV when they interviewed an NYFD union rep. When he said “we lost whole companies,” I immediately thought of Antietam and a monument I had once seen there commemorating losses suffered by a Pennsylvania regiment. As a result of all of this, whenever I hear Ashokan Farewell, my mind recovers these intertwined memories.
Here is a link to piano arrangement of Ashokan Farewell.