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Memorial Day is a holiday for us to remember all those who have been in the military and seen war, especially those who gave their lives protecting our country. As part of that remembrance this year, I have picked 5 songs to keep in mind as well as why I think they're important on this Memorial Day.
1: "Born in the USA" - Bruce Springsteen
One of most recognized and often misinterpreted songs in rock and roll, this song is a great commentary on war, specifically the Vietnam war during which is was written. It features a great message that not only reminds us why Bruce Springsteen is "The Boss", but also that war is not only about political conflict, but about people fighting and dying on both sides of the battle.
2: "When the Tigers Broke Free" - Pink Floyd
Roger Water's powerful poetic story about World War II, this song is not overly catchy, but the arrangement combined with the lyrics give it a haunting feel that has tremendous impact. It serves as a great reminder that war has an effect on the soldier, but probably an even bigger effect on the families of those soldiers.
3: "Goodnight Saigon" - Billy Joel
One of the more emotional songs ever written, I think this is one of the best Billy Joel ever wrote. This song is "brings tears to your eyes" powerful both in its lyrics and it's arrangement. A great reminder about of war with some great imagery, but also the types of loyalties felt by those who fight. This song is an anthem for anyone, soldier or otherwise, who is willing to stand up and maybe even die for what they believe in, whether they want to fight or not.
4: "What's so Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding" - Elvis Costello
One of my favorite Elvis Costello songs, this one also serves as a good reminder that although there are times where fighting is the only option, we should always try our best to keep peace and encourage love and understanding. Sometimes these things can get lost in all the political debating, war tactics and us versus them mentality. On this Memorial Day, we should uphold these things that much more.
5: "Give Peace a Chance" - John Lennon
This song is relatively self explanatory, but on this Memorial Day I think it has a special meaning. It reminds us that although we should support the troops for risking their lives in defending our nation, we should always be working towards peace as quickly as possible to bring them home and then do everything we can to uphold peace and to make sure that they do not need to be called upon again for service.
The overall message of why I picked these songs is that I have the utmost respect for all the troops who have served, are serving and will serve in the future, especially those who have given their lives in service. I believe that part of that respect means doing everything we can to bring about peace so that these brave souls can return home to their families and friends as quickly as possible.
A Happy Memorial Day from the Soul of Rock 'n' Roll to everyone, especially to all of the soldiers across the globe, those who have given their lives and to all their friends and families.