Current Events: Ain't No Fortunate Son - Songs for Veterans, pt. 1
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Above: "Funeral for a Soldier" by Scott H. Spitzer for USAF (DOD 030403-F-1166S-001, public domain)
Tuesday was Veteran’s Day. Newly restored aircraft carrier the USS Intrepid—a ship that saw extensive combat in the Pacific during World War II—was rededicated as a museum in New York at Pier 86 on the Hudson River. In America, and in many countries around the world (where the holiday is known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day), people took time to remember those who have served in their nation’s military, especially those who lost their lives.
The holiday is held on Nov. 11, commemorating the treaty that ended WWI, which was signed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. In honor of Veteran’s Day, I’ve compiled this mix of songs (with my favorite lyrics included) about soldiers and the struggles they face, both during wartime and when they return home.
Tom Waits - "Day After Tomorrow"
"I still don't know how I'm supposed to feel about all the blood that's been spilled ... You can't deny the other side don't want to die any more than we do / What I'm trying to say is, don't they pray to the same God that we do? / Tell me, how does God choose? Whose prayers does he refuse? Who turns the wheel? And who throws the dice on the day after tomorrow?"
The Band - "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"
"In the winter of '65, we were hungry, just barely alive ... Now I don't mind choppin' wood, and I don't care if the money's no good / Ya take what ya need and ya leave the rest, but they should never have taken the very best"
The Clash - "Spanish Bombs"
"Bullet holes in the cemetery walls ... Spanish bombs on the costa rica / I'm flying in on a DC-10 tonight ... the freedom fighters died up on the hill / They sang the red flag, they wore the black one / But after they died it was Mockingbird Hill"
Steve Earle - "Rich Man's War"
"Jimmy joined the army 'cause he had no place to go / There ain’t nobody hiring 'round here since all the jobs went down to Mexico / Reckoned that he’d learn himself a trade, maybe see the world / Move to the city someday and marry a black-haired girl / But somebody somewhere had another plan / Now he’s got a rifle in his hand, rollin’ into Baghdad wonderin’ how he got this far / Just another poor boy off to fight a rich man’s war"