By Dennis Hartley
(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on May 28, 2022)
Memorial Day, like war itself, stirs up conflicting emotions. First and foremost, grief…for those who have been taken away (and for loved ones left behind). But there’s also anger…raging at the stupidity of a species that has been hell-bent on self destruction since Day 1.
And so the songs I’ve curated for this playlist run that gamut; from honoring the fallen and offering comfort to the grieving, to questioning those in power who start wars and ship off the sons and daughters of others to finish them, to righteous railing at the utter fucking madness of it all, and sentiments falling somewhere in between.
The Doors- “The Unknown Soldier” – A eulogy; then…a wish.
Pete Seeger- “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” An excellent question. You may not like the answer. When will we ever learn?
Tom Waits- “Soldier’s Things” – The reductive power of a simple inventory. Kleenex on standby.
Bob Marley- “War”– Lyrics by Haile Selassie I. But you knew that.
The Isley Brothers- “Harvest for the World”– Dress me up for battle, when all I want is peace/Those of us who pay the price, come home with the least.
Buffy Sainte Marie- “Universal Soldier”– Sacrifice has no borders.
Bob Dylan- “With God On Our Side” – Amen, and pass the ammunition.
John Prine- “Sam Stone” – An ode to the walking wounded.
Joshua James- “Crash This Train” – Just make it stop. Please.
Kate Bush- “Army Dreamers”– For loved ones left behind…
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