2002 | Country
“One Friday night at a football game, the Lord's Prayer said, and the anthem sang, a man said 'folks, would you bow your heads for a list of local Vietnam dead." -- Crying all alone under the stands was a piccolo player in the marching band and one name read, and nobody really cared but a pretty little girl with a bow in her hair."
- This was the group's sixth and final single to reach No. 1 on Billboard "Hot Country Singles."
- The song was being promoted by the Dixie Chicks when on March 10, 2003, lead singer Natalie Maines told a London, England, audience the band was ashamed that George W. Bush was from Texas. Maines's comments caused some stations, including 42 owned by Cumulus Media, to drop the song from their playlists, causing a fall from No. 1 to No. 3 the following week before disappearing entirely.
- Aaron Lewis also recorded a cover of the song as a duet with his daughter Zoe on his 2016 album Sinner.
THE HOT TAKES
While I suppose you don't have to consider this song "anti-war," it's certainly bringing us face-to-face with an all-too-common reality: Lovers separated by the military. Let's look at this two ways. The subject of the song is a soldier who falls in love and then leaves for war, dying without seeing his girl again. But what about the flipside? Did this soldier kill while in Vietnam? Are those families not just as shaken? Perhaps they are impacted even more, since the United States was the aggressor.
I cannot hear this song without crying. As a matter of fact, I'm sitting here now with tears in my eyes just from reviewing it. To think of all of the loves lost and lives ruined on both sides of any war is heartbreaking. I lost my high school sweetheart to a car accident when I was 17, and I can tell you it was one of the most painful experiences of my life. I cannot imgaine losing a loved one to some damned war that he should never have been fighting in the first place. The military preys on those in the flower of their youth. Yound people who have not seen enough of the worl to know better, in a time of great transition in their lives when so many are looking for direction. Most parents are worried about their kids getting mixed up with the wrong crowd, but are just fine with allowing military recruiters into their children's high schools to prey on their youth. They are appaled if their child smokes a joint, but applaud if they sign their life away to the war machine. What has happened to people that they would be proud for their children to take up arms to shoot other young people in far away places for the powerful who could care less what happens to them. Disgusting!
I chose this song more for it's context than the lyrics. The fact that the song was boycotted by a huge portion of the radio world following a critique of then president George Bush is one thing. The idea that the boycott officially pulled a hit song off the charts for daring to speak out against war and political power is mind-numbing. The songs message about the toll war takes on human beings would be enough, but that context makes an anti-war message seem quaint in comparison. Everyone knows they can go off to war and die but they do so under a belief that they fighting for freedom. But, what freedom exists when political power is able to control our art at such a granular level as to determine what our popular music is. That's truly terrifying to me.