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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Country song with accent on this country

Big and Rich's new hit country song "8th of November" about the first major encounter for the 173rd Airborne in Vietnam is a very thought-provoking number and worth a listen for those who usually don't lend an ear to that genre.

Rather than the more common redneck stand up and salute the flag, support the president, etc., this one sounds more like an old Irish song in melody and rhythm as it laments the heavy losses suffered by the greatly outnumbered U.S. unit. The accompanying video on country music channels like Great American Country (GAC), using the photos of those American soldiers lost in the fight in 1965 is haunting.

Azlyrics.com, a wealth of good music information, has an online copy of the lyrics, and they are worth a look, too.

BIG & RICH LYRICS

"8th Of November"

"Said goodbye to his momma as he left South DakotaTo fight for the red, white and blue
He was 19 and green with a new M-16
Just doing what he had to do
He was dropped in the jungle where the choppers would rumble
With the smell of napalm in the air
And the sergeant said...look up ahead
Like a dark evil cloud, 1,200 came down on him and 29 more
They fought for their lives but most of them died in the 173rd Airborne

[Chorus:]

On the 8th of November the angels were crying
As they carried his brothers away
With the fire raining down and the hell all around
There were few men left standing that day
Saw the eagle fly through a clear blue sky
1965, the 8th of November
Now he's 58 and his pony tail's gray
But the battle still plays in his head
He limps when he walks but he's strong when he talks
About the Shrapnel they left in his leg
He puts on a gray suit over his Airborne tattoo
And he ties it on one time a year
And remembers the fallen as he orders a tall one
And swallows it down with his tears

[Chorus]

Saw the eagle fly through a clear blue sky
1965...On the 8th of November the angels were crying
As they carried his brother away
With the fire raining down and the hell all around
There were few men left standing that day..."

It's been a while since Vietnam and it may take us a while longer to really put it in its correct place in this country's history, but every little lesson gets us a little closer, and should make us question those who make the decisions to send young people off to war. There's nothing easy about any of it.

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