1, 2, 3, What are we Fighting For?
Does anyone know the song by Country Joe and the Fish that was sung at Woodstock? My husband and I visited my parents over the weekend. On our rainy drive down there, we pulled out some CD's of mine from college. One of these is called Bell Bottom Rock and I actually ordered it from the tv. This is the only thing I have ever ordered from tv in my life. The chorus goes like this:
And it's 1, 2, 3, What are we Fighting 4?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn
How 'bout this Vietnam?
And it's 5, 6, 7, Open up the Pearly G-8.
Ain't no time to wonder why
We're all gonna die
Verses go something like this:
Put down your books and pick up a gun
We're gonna have a whole lotta fun
Come on fathers throughout the land
Pack your boys off to Vietnam
Come on mothers don't hesitate
Send 'em off before it's too late
Be the first one on your block
To have your boy come home in a box
This song is sung to a tune that is very happy and sounds like it should be in the circus. This adds to the chillingness of the words to me. The words are so blunt, but if you don't really listen to them, you have no idea that the song's theme is not ridiculously happy.The rest of the lyrics to the song can be seen here:
Listening to this song again got me thinking about myself. When I was sixth grade, Gulf War I happened. I was studying for my first ever midterm exams as Israel was being bombarded with Scud missiles. I got very involved in the idea of the war. The six week long war was something I thought about and dealt with every single day. I had a pen pal soldier. I loved the songs on the radio, one that I remember in particular I think was called "Operation: Desert Storm". It was played on popular radio stations and went something like this:
Desert Storm. D-D D-D Desert Storm.I
t also had parts where Bush One talked in the middle of the song. I would put a link to the lyrics here, but I can't find one online.Then in high school I got very into music from the sixties and seventies. I became a flaming liberal and loved listening to anti-war music about making love not war. I wished that I had lived in the time of the Vietnam war so I could have participated in sit-ins and marched on Washington and gone to Woodstock. I really felt that music. Here is an article about the music I am talking about, included a special reference to the Country Joe and the Fish song:
But now, here we are in the middle of another war. One that has gone on for close to four years if you count all the time spent in Afghanistan. When my niece was born over two years ago on the eve of the announcement of the war against Iraq, I imagined that this would be something that would define her, would define me and this part of my life. Sadly, it is not. Soldiers and contractors die every day in Iraq, and I still come to work, do my job, go home, cook dinner, watch tv, and go to bed. Nothing for me has changed. I live my life exactly the same as I would without the war. I wish this were not true. There are days that I even forget that we are fighting a war. Do I agree with this war and the reasons we are fighting it? Maybe, maybe not. But regardless, I wish I was living my life more like people seemed to in the time of Vietnam, more like my idyllic sense that I had in high school and college.
Ode To My Father
My father was born post World War II, one of the first of the baby boom. His father was a "bar owner" according to my father's birth certificate, but his real occupation was as a bookmaker. And no, he didn't put the spines on books you read. My grandfather passed away this year, making this the first father's day without him. My father is a very emotional man, and I am sure that just father's day would have been tough for him this year, but it was made worse by the fact that my family decided to use that day to do the unveiling on my grandfather's tombstone (a tradition in Judaism). My mother said he cried like a baby.
When I was born, my mother tells me that my father took an active roll in my upbringing. He was not responsible for cooking or cleaning, like husbands are today, but he did change diapers, feed me, and put me to sleep. Once, when my mom left for the day, my dad was watching a football game with some friends and the cat licked my head so much that it started to bleed.
My friends always say my dad is very funny, but he is also very shy. People think he is a snob, but I know he isn't because I am the same way. He is afraid people won't like him, so he shies away, seeming snobby. Once he gets to know you he relaxes, starts speaking in an audible voice (he is generally a low talker), and becomes hilarious.
My dad is one of the hardest working men I have ever met. He always made sure that our family was provided for and never let on when things were rough. When I was 16 and everyone around me was getting cars right away, he told me that he wanted nothing more than to get me a car. He said he knew I deserved it more than any of my friends and that if he could he would get me a Corvette. To which I replied, I don't want a Corvette. We both cried and he told me how proud he was of me. Then two months later, he got me a car. Not a Corvette, but a very nice first car. I don't know how he swung it, but he knew it was important to me, so it was important to him.
When I was trying to decide whether to quit grad school or not, my dad told me a piece of advice I will never forget. "If you like your job three days a week, you are doing good. If not, find something else." At that point, I hated grad school five days a week, so I quit. I have been working here for almost four years, and I can honestly say that I enjoy coming here at least four days a week.When I thought about going to school for an MBA last year, my father offered to help me pay for it. Completely unsolicited and unnecessary. I won't ever forget that.
On my wedding day, my dad was crying so much that the photographer kept having to stop taking pictures. When we danced he told me he was proud of me and to have a wonderful life. Then in his speech he commented that he would like to have grandchildren soon.
My dad is who I go to when I am happy or sad, need advice or need to give advice, want to laugh or want to make someone laugh. I can't wait to see him with his grandchildren someday.
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