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Time:12:23 pm
It’s Memorial Day, and a post my friend Greta made about honoring the soldiers, but not necessarily the leaders who put them in harm’s way, reminded me I had written two country songs about soldiers back during the height of the Iraq War. Try to imagine Waylon Jennings singing them and maybe they’ll read a little better.

Er, and just to be clear. I am not, and have never been a soldier. Writers have the annoying habit of putting themselves in other peoples’ heads, whether they’re qualified to be there or not.

Dead Soldiers

Dead soldiers
That’s what we call the empty bottles we make when we drink
Dead soldiers
Who died on the frontlines of the battle we fight not to think
Dead soldiers
The brothers we lost in a war I don’t understand yet
Dead soldiers
The brothers whose names and whose faces we drink to forget

***

Dead soldiers
Who died for the red white and blue
Dead soldiers
Who died for me and for you
Dead soldiers
Still dead though the war wasn’t true
Dead soldiers
Yes we’re making dead soldiers
To forget the dead soldiers we knew

***

Dead soldiers
If I could forget a name for each bottle I drank
Dead soldiers
But each night they come back and line up rank after rank
Dead soldiers
Jimmy and Tommy and Frank and old Hard Luck Jose
Dead soldiers
Though I know that its hopeless I still try to drink them away

***

Dead soldiers
Who died for the red white and blue
Dead soldiers
Who died for me and for you
Dead soldiers
Still dead though the war wasn’t true
Dead soldiers
Yes we’re making dead soldiers
To forget the dead soldiers we knew


Honorable Men

I am a soldier
From a long line of soldiers
Who have answered our country’s call
From Ardennes to Burma
From Saigon to Anbar
We are proud to be giving our all

We pick up our packs
And we shoulder our rifles
March to hell and then right back again
No matter how weary
We do what is asked us
For we are honorable men

***

We honor a promise
And we try not to lie
We fight hard for good not for gain
And all that we ask
Of the men who lead us
Is just that they do the same

***

A soldier is a weapon
We shoot where you point us
So take care where you ask us to aim
For we’ll follow your orders
And we’ll pull the trigger
If you’re mistaken, will you take the blame?

We don’t ask for reasons
Or long explanations
Just give us a where and a when
All a soldier requires
When he walks toward the fires
Is to be led by honorable men

***

We honor a promise
And we try not to lie
We fight hard for good not for gain
And all that we ask
Of the men who lead us
Is just that they do the same
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