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2013-05-27

"Hero of War"–Rise Against Song Captures Iraq War Veteran’s Tragic Experience

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We conclude Democracy Now!'s 2013 Memorial Day special with the video for the song, "Hero of War," by Rise Against. The Chicago-based punk band's Tim McIlrath sang the antiwar song for protesters outside the NATO Summit in Chicago earlier this month. It tells the story of an Iraq war veteran reflecting on his experiences while serving in the military. "I 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 friends," McIlrath sings. The video for the song has been viewed more than 13 million times online. Click here to see the other parts of the 2013 Memorial Day Special: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We end today’s show with a song by Chicago musician Tim McIlrath of the band Rise Against. It’s called "Hero of War." Tim performed it on the hot asphalt at the rally, but also produced it as a video that has been viewed more than 13 million times online.

TIM McILRATH: [singing] 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 looked alright
We marched and we sang
We all became friends
As we learned how to fight

A 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 trust

I 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 friends

They took off his clothes
They [bleep] 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 again

A 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 trust

She 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 away

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 snow

A 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 trust

He said, "Son, have you seen the world?
Well what would you say, if I said that you could?"

AMY GOODMAN: Chicago musician Tim McIlrath of Rise Against.

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