Paul Simon was honored recently by the Library of Congress. I was reminded of a memorable night we spent with him. It was January, 1991, and we were attending his concert. That afternoon it was all over the news that we were about to embark on Operation Desert Storm. When we arrived at the concert venue there were TVs set up everywhere with people gathered around them waiting for news. The security guards were all listening to their radios and passing on any information they received.
We had taken our seats, but it was past time to begin. Suddenly the curtains parted and there was Paul Simon, looking a little lost. The fanfare belatedly started, but he quickly stopped the orchestra and put up his hand to stop the spontaneous applause. He announced that we were now at war, that Operation Desert Storm had begun. He then asked us to join him in a prayer. He bowed his head and said a simple, sincere prayer straight from his heart. It was such a uniting, precious moment. Then he quietly thanked us, went offstage, and the lights in the hall went down, before the concert started as usual.
The concert was unbelievable. At the end he sang "You Can Call Me Al" and it went on and on with the audience singing and dancing along. When it was over, and the applause finally died down, he said, "That was so fun. Let's do it again!" And we did the whole song again!
It was a heartwarming experience to see one of my favorite musical icons humble himself, and show such love for our country in an unrehearsed way. I'll never forget the night Paul Simon helped bridge some troubled waters.