‘Helpless’ after Charlottesville riots, Richmond singer pens ‘Heather’s Song’ for peace and love

BON AIR, Va. -- It was a day that shook Virginia to its core. The world watched as violent riots broke out in Charlottesville in August 2017. Some 70 miles down Interstate 64, Traci Eagle tried to process what was unfolding before her eyes.

"I couldn’t believe what was happening. I was dumbfounded," Traci said. "We go down there and shop. We go down there and visit. Right there. Right there."

In an instant, the life of counter protester Heather Heyer was taken.

"Every time I see that on TV or a clip of that on the news, it brings back the rawness of that day. For a day or two I felt numb. I just felt absolutely numb. I sat in my chair. Balling. Sobbing. So helpless," she said.

The Bon Air native felt compelled to act. The best way she knew how.

"I didn’t know Heather at all. It just hit me so hard about what was happening. And how she died," Traci said.

The singer/songwriter started composing.

From that tragedy, “Heather’s Song” was born.

"This just flowed out of my brain onto paper. It’s just a cathartic song," Traci said.

“Heather’s Song” is a tribute to the paralegal’s legacy.

"One thing I noticed in the picture was that beautiful smile she had," Traci said.

Traci reached out to Heather’s mother, Susan Bro, to get her blessing.

"So, she said I’m going to introduce you to my daughter Heather," Traci said. "She went through her baby pictures right down to the last text she had with Heather."

Heather Heyer

Since then the women have become close friends.

"She tells me she is having a hard day today and I know what she means when she says that to me," Traci said.

For Traci, “Heather’s Song" helps to relieve her own pain. Traci is battling and beating a second round of breast cancer.

"At first I was a little shocked that it came back," Traci said. "I think there is a reason I’m here. God’s got plans for me to do in my life."

"Heather’s Song" grabbed the attention of Grammy-nominated producer Jan Smith.

Smith even invited Traci to Atlanta for a recording session.

A dream come true for this guitarist, but the reason she was there was not lost on Traci.

"I know she is smiling. I feel her smiling," Traci said.

Heather’s Song should be released by August 12. The one-year anniversary of the riots.

Traci said she hoped her song will sooth hearts.

"I just wish for so much love in this world. There is more love than hate. Love will always win.”

Traci said all proceeds from sales of the song on August 12, the one year anniversary of the riots will be donated to the Heather Heyer Foundation.

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If you know of someone with an interesting story to tell email Greg McQuade.