12 November 2007

Veterans' Day

The people at Slate, have devoted their "Today's Pictures" to this slideshow on Veteran's Day. I spent part of the afternoon putting together a paper proposal with Caroline Kobick - one of our very smart students - for a conference next spring on music and war. The paper will be on "collateral damage" done to families and communities when young men are sent off to battle. One of the songs we want to discuss is this one:

The Day After Tomorrow*
Tom Waits

I got your letter today
And I miss you all so much, here
I can't wait to see you all
And I'm counting the days, dear
I still believe that there's gold
At the end of the world
And I'll come home
To Illinois
On the day after tomorrow

It is so hard
And it's cold here
And I'm tired of taking orders
And I miss old Rockford town
Up by the Wisconsin border
But I miss you won't believe
Shoveling snow and raking leaves
And my plane will touch tomorrow
On the day after tomorrow

I close my eyes
Every night
And I dream that I can hold you
They fill us full of lies
Everyone buys
About what it means to be a soldier
I still don't know how I'm supposed to feel
About all the blood that's been spilled
Look out on the street
Get me back home
On the day after tomorrow

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?

I'm not fighting
For justice
I am not fighting
For freedom
I am fighting
For my life
And another day
In the world here
I just do what I've been told
You're just the gravel on the road
And the one's that are lucky
One's come home
On the day after tomorrow

And the summer
It too will fade
And with it comes the winter's frost, dear
And I know we too are made
Of all the things that we have lost here
I'll be twenty-one today
I've been saving all my pay
And my plane will touch down
On the day after tomorrow
And my plane it will touch down
On the day after tomorrow

This lyric seems a poignant reminder that to support our troops we should bring them home. And once they are here as honored veterans we should do all we can to support them as they try to reconnect with the families and communities who sent them off and awaited their return.
* From Real Gone on Anti Records, 2004.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You get paid for this crap?

12 November, 2007 23:45  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

Nope, Anon, I share for free, for the sheer edificaiton of knowing that people like you get their panties in a knot at any thought that runs even slightly counter to the presumptions and prejudices that encircle their insular little worlds. And, of course, if your time is so valuable, feel free to go rant and whine elsewhere. Bye!

13 November, 2007 08:09  
Anonymous dixieflyer said...

Have you thought of looking at Springsteen's new song "Last to Die"? Kristofferson also has some striking songs that could be interesting to analyze.

13 November, 2007 11:11  

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