Dan Valentine: Memorial Day, Part II

June 1, 2010

Memorial Day. Pt. 2.

[See Part I, here]

By Dan Valentine

The greatest anti-war/peace song ever written is “What a Wonderful World.” Just one man’s opinion.

Wikipedia: Clear Channel included it on its list of songs that might be inappropriate for airplay in the period after the September 11 attack.

The Louis Armstrong version was used ironically in “Dr. Strangelove” over a montage of bombings.

Satchmo’s version was again used ironically in “Good Morning, Vietnam.”

It was used again by Michael Moore’s film “Bowling for Columbine,” “where it accompanies scenes of violence about U.S. intervention in international affairs.”

It has been used many times since. It’ll be used many times more. The song says it all.

Tho’ many don’t get the gist.

(c) 2010 Daniel Valentine

Stand awhile on hallowed ground
Where heroes sleep and look around.
Here and there a flag adorns a grave,
And there are fresh-cut flowers for the brave.

Walk along the rows and rows
And read what’s there inscribed on those
Graves on which the flowers lie across.
The stones have little room to note the loss.

Here rests a boy, eighteen-years young.
Forever lost: songs never sung.
His dream was to be a songwriter-singer.
He died when a trigger was squeezed by a finger,
All his hopes dashed while one wisp of rising smoke curled.

Here seated are a dad and mom,
Their son killed by a roadside bomb.
Their dream for their boy was a long and good life,
A career that he loved, lots of kids, a good wife.
Choking back tears, they’re handed a flag smartly furled.

And Taps is played,
Wreaths and flowers are laid,
And down the road by the White House lawn,
A staffer jogs with his headphones on,
“What a wonderful world …”

Here rests a woman, thirty-four.
She had a child and dreamed of more.
She grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Her father was killed in far-flung Indochina.
Both of them died while overhead chopper blades twirled.

Here rests one more among the dead,
El Paso, Texas, born and bred.
His dream was to help the children, those dying.
He died kicking down a door, tracer rounds flying–
Boom!–when a bomb exploded and shrapnel was hurled.

And Taps is played,
One or two speeches made,
And driving by in an SUV,
A pundit hums to a worn CD,
“What a wonderful world …”

Here comes another clean-cut kid,
A flag draped on his coffin lid.
His dream was to be a major-league catcher.
He died crying out for his mom on a stretcher,
Coughing up blood while all around desert sand swirled.

And Taps is played,
Last respects duly paid,
And fat-cat oil execs, checkbooks drawn,
Turn up the sound when their song comes on,
“What a wonderful world …”

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