I wrote this piece this morning European time while most Americans and Canadians were still asleep. It started like this. This theme is so relevant today as we have woken up to more news about attacking Iran and Iranian retaliation. I went to the pool and while I was swimming, I reflected on when war is necessary, why it starts, whose purpose it serves, who pays the price, and why there are so many victims on both sides. Does praying your side will win help? When you pray that the Packers or the Vikings will win a game, does God take sides? Does it matter who the victims are? If they don’t look like us or pray like us or speak our language are they less human than us?

I took the bus home and pet my dog when I arrived. Then I saw more news. The news that the Americans and Canadians are now waking up to. A plane crash. Canadian and Iranian victims. Iran won’t hand over the black box. Coincidence?

My husband just arrived home from work and I told him the news. He said, “we are at war.” Now I’ll leave you with my original blog entry:

He said, “Son, have you seen the world? What would you say if I said that you could? You’ll carry a gun. You’ll even get paid.”  I said, “That sounds pretty good.”  Hero of War. Rise Against.

This is the first line of one of my favorite songs about war and its effects on our soldiers. I’ve used this song in my English as a foreign language classes for years because it tells a story with a beautiful melody. Plus, it’s a metal band so the kids think it’s really cool, although this song is acoustic so it’s soothing to the ear.  They get so involved in the music and storyline that they don’t realize it’s actually a “reading” lesson. Throughout the years, this has a been a “favorite” lesson by all my students as it makes us reflect on what being a soldier entails. I even hear them singing the song after class in the hallways during the break.

I’ll simply attach a link to the song with it’s lyrics. I recommend watching the whole video. You’ll notice that the lyrics come around full circle quite poetically.  Just a warning. It’s addictive and you may find yourself memorizing the lyrics and humming the tune the rest of the day.

Before doing so, I must dedicate this to my two uncles who served in Vietnam. Unfortunately, Ronnie spent an entire 12 months fighting and sleeping with his gun in the Vietnamese jungle. As one of the few survivors of his platoon, he was made sargeant at the age of 20. He told us he didn’t smoke any dope because he had to stay alert to stay alive.  He also experienced three days of intense fighting during the Test Offensive at the Saigon airport before they were able to regain control of the airport. Three weeks later he was lifted out and carried back home. He was told that they would ask him about his state of “mental” health upon arriving to the US. If he said he was fine, they would give him a steak and a beer and send him back home. He said, “Yep, a juicy steak sounds pretty good,” and went back to the farm. I don’t think we will ever realize how strong you are. Thank you for your service and sacrifice and for somehow knowing how to carry on. We are proud of you.

Don’t miss out on the video. I hope this song helps us all reflect on what is necessary and what is unnecessary about war.


“Hero Of War”
He said “Son, have you seen the world?
Well, what would you say if I said that you could?
Just carry this gun and you’ll even get paid”
I said “That sounds pretty good”Black leather boots
Spit-shined so bright
They cut off my hair but it looks alright
We marched and we sang
We all became friends
As we learned how to fightA hero of war
Yeah that’s what I’ll be
And when I come home
They’ll be damn proud of me
I’ll carry this flag
To the grave if I must
Because it’s a flag that I love
And a flag that I trustI kicked in the door
I yelled my commands
The children, they cried
But I got my man
We took him away
A bag over his face
From his family and his friendsThey took off his clothes
They pissed in his hands
I told them to stop
But then I joined in
We beat him with guns
And batons not just once
But again and againA hero of war
Yeah that’s what I’ll be
And when I come home
They’ll be damn proud of me
I’ll carry this flag
To the grave if I must
Because it’s a flag that I love
And a flag that I trustShe walked through bullets and haze
I asked her to stop
I begged her to stay
But she pressed on
So I lifted my gun
And I fired awayAnd the shells jumped through the smoke
And into the sand
That the blood now had soaked
She collapsed with a flag in her hand
A flag white as snowA hero of war
Is that what they see
Just medals and scars
So damn proud of me
And I brought home that flag
Now it gathers dust
But it’s a flag that I love
It’s the only flag I trustHe said, “Son, have you seen the world?
Well what would you say, if I said that you could?”





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