1982 | Rock
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“That's been ten long years ago and time has gone on by. -- But now and then I catch myself eyes searchin' through the sky. -- All the sounds of long ago will be forever in my head. -- Mingled with the wounded's cries and the silence of the dead.”
- This song hit #22 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Mainstream Rock charts.
- Still in Saigon, is a song written by Dan Daley in 1981 and was performed by the Charlie Daniels Band on their 1982 album Windows.
- The song specifically references a soldier after the Vietnam War.
THE HOT TAKES
The propaganda is real. Our protagonist was taught, seemingly from birth, to sacrifice for his country. When the war in Vietnam he broke out, he didn't run. He stood and fought. And for what? "My younger brother calls me a killer and my daddy calls me a vet." And mentally, he's "still in Saigon." The effects of war last a lifetime for every individual who participates. And in this case, it not only tore him apart, but his family as well. "Everybody says I'm someone else; And I'm sick and there's no cure; Damned if I know who I am; There was only one place I was sure." Heartbreaking stuff.
I appreciate outlaw country very much, too bad Charlie Daniels has become less an outlaw these days and more of a spewer of statist vomit. I grew up listening to my Dad play this song, and I remember how sad it would make me. I remember having a conversation with my father about why he had the sweats, and was searching the sky, and especially why his brother would call him a killer. Now, with my understanding I get it, but it’s not less sad to me. For one thing, it makes me so sad that the damage that US foreign policy does to the people of the world is not enough to change the minds of a huge segment of the population. Secondly, I find it sad because the price soldiers pay is so incredibly high, and they are so very disposable to the system. The ripples of damage that go throughout society are countless, and talking to folks about the damage to soldiers seems to be one of the best inroads to trying to get people to consider that violence is not always the answer. This songs lyrics do a good job of portraying the long lasting impact to soldiers for surrendering their moral agency to the death cult that is The State.
Can we ever truly hammer home how damaging war is to people? I’ve only ever heard one Charlie Daniels Band song before this. I might have dig deeper had I kniwn there were gems like this in his catalogue. The song paints a very matter of fact picture of PTSD and how both the victim and society at large deal with it. The narrator of the song struggles with the repurcussions of his time at war ehile trying to blend into society. He suffers depression and halucinations as a result of a war he had no interest in. He went because those government indoctrination camps told him he was a bad boy for not following the rules if he chose to dodge. We all want to be good boys right? Many years after experiencing the horror or narrator is having an identity crisis because our own views on war are so complex here at home. He’s revered by his father but loathed as a murderer by his sibling. How can he be both. I’ll never let anyone try to over-simplify how complicated it is to deal with the human damage of war. These people get the unenviable position of being murderers and victims at the same time.