POETRY FRIDAY: Those Who Go to War and the “Fortunate Sons” Who Never Have to Serve

PoetryFridayButtonBy Elaine Magliaro

At the Concert for Valor on Tuesday night, Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl, and Zac Brown performed their rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son.” John Fogerty’s 1969 song “Fortunate Son” is an anti-war “anthem that rails against blind patriotism and the whole ‘rich man’s war, poor man’s fight’ nature of the Vietnam War.”

 

Some of the folks at Fox News and The Weekly Standard got their knickers in a twist and took issue with the musicians’ decision to include “Fortunate Son” at the “ostensibly pro-military” concert. Ethan Epstein (The Weekly Standard) wondered how they could be so “tone-deaf.” Epstein said that “Fortunate Son” was not “a bad song” on a “musical level.” Still, he felt the Concert for Valor “was not the place for it.”

Fox News hosts claim Bruce Springsteen was ‘taking shots’ at veterans

 

Maybe some of the folks at Fox News and The Weekly Standard would feel that pro-war songs were more appropriate for the occasion? As for me–a member of the Vietnam War generation–I can’t think of a better occasion for famous musicians to sing an anti-war song. It’s personal to me. I lost friends in Vietnam–good men that shouldn’t have died in a senseless war. Shouldn’t we think about the folly of sending our young men and women into unnecessary wars on Veterans Day?

Regarding the Vietnam War: John Fogerty did not support the policy or the war. Fogerty said, “If you asked anyone in the army at that time why we were going to Vietnam to fight, no one could answer… Probably the real answer was keeping the war machine going, and business. To sacrifice a young man’s life with no real purpose, taking these young men from their mothers and families, was wrong. I was the guy who was living this life… I had very strong feelings about all of this… To me, those soldiers were my brothers. I understood them because I was also drafted into the army just like them. The protest was against the policy, not the soldiers…”

John Fogerty Shares Inspiration Behind “Fortunate Son”

 

Excerpt from the lyrics of “Fortunate Son”:

Some folks are born made to wave the flag
Ooh, they’re red, white and blue
And when the band plays “Hail to the Chief”
Oh, they point the cannon at you, Lord

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no Senator’s son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one, no

Some folks are born silver spoon in hand
Lord, don’t they help themselves, oh
But when the tax men come to the door
Lord, the house look a like a rummage sale, yes

Click here to read all of the lyrics.

Afterword: John Fogerty responded to those who were critical of the inclusion of his song in the Concert for Valor program this week. He noted that he wrote the song over forty-five years ago during the Vietnam War. Fogerty said, “As an American and a songwriter, I am proud that the song still has resonance. I do believe that its meaning gets misinterpreted and even usurped by various factions wishing to make their own case. What a great country we have that a song like this can be performed in a setting like Concert for Valor”. He added, “Years ago, an ultraconservative administration tried to paint anyone who questioned its policies as ‘un-American,'” he continues. “That same administration shamefully ignored and mistreated the soldiers returning from Vietnam. As a man who was drafted and served his country during those times, I have ultimate respect for the men and women who protect us today and demand that they receive the respect that they deserve.”

Creedence Clearwater Revival: Fortunate Son

SOURCES

Fox hosts befuddled by ‘Fortunate Son’ lyrics, claim Springsteen ‘bashes soldiers’ on Veteran’s Day (Raw Story)

Team Springsteen: Why ‘Fortunate Son’ Belonged At The Concert For Valor (ThinkProgress)

Anti-Military Anthem Played at ‘Concert for Valor’: Unfortunate song. (The Weekly Standard)

“Fortunate Son” Lyrics (MetroLyrics)

John Fogerty Addresses ‘Fortunate Son’ Concert for Valor Controversy: “I do believe that its meaning gets misinterpreted and even usurped by various factions wishing to make their own case,” says CCR singer (Rolling Stone)

 

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3 Responses to POETRY FRIDAY: Those Who Go to War and the “Fortunate Sons” Who Never Have to Serve

  1. bigfatmike says:

    Maybe it is time to rethink the all volunteer military that has allowed off-the-books war that cause hardly a ripple in civilian society.

    Is it possible to make good decisions about war when we can have them without so much as missing a dollar from our pay checks?

  2. “Maybe some of the folks at Fox News and The Weekly Standard would feel that pro-war songs were more appropriate for the occasion?”

    Wagner?

  3. gbk says:

    WWJD (What Would Jimi Do)

    When asked by Dick Cavett about his “unorthodox” version, Jimi responded: “I’m an American so I played it,” explained Jimi Hendrix during an interview on the Dick Cavett Show in 1969. “I used to have to sing it in school. They made me sing it in school. It was flashback.”

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