[We] Need a Hero

The boy introduced me to the band Dispatch when we first started dating. The music is something else, you should give it a listen. The song “Out Loud” sends chills up my spine and quickly became one of my favorites, but that’s for another post.

Last night, after driving home from dinner, their song “The General” came on, and the its lyrics affected me in a much different way that they had ever before. No surprise, but I got a lump in my throat listening to it. It is my understanding that the song was written before the war in Iraq, and by some accounts on the internet was actually written about child warfare, which makes it even more poignant and chilling.

But last night, singing along, I was struck with the thought that the figure in this song might be what we need in this moment in time. A leader who will step up, take responsibility, and send our boys and girls home, without shame.

I’ve posted a live clip of Dispatch singing this song, but because these boys’ frenetic tongues can be hard to decipher on first listening, I’ve also copied the lyrics below.

“General”

there was a decorated general with
a heart of gold, that likened him to
all the stories he told
of past battles, won and lost, and
legends of old a seasoned veteran in
his own time

on the battlefield, he gained
respectful fame with many medals
of bravery and stripes to his name
he grew a beard as soon as he could
to cover the scars on his face
and always urged his men on

but on the eve of a great battle
with the infantry in dream
the old general tossed in his sleep
and wrestled with its meaning
he awoke from the night
just to tell what he had seen
and walked slowly out of his tent

all the men held tall with their
chests in the air, with courage in
their blood and a fire in their stare
it was a grey morning and they all
wondered how they would fare
till the old general told them to go home

I have seen the others
and I have discovered
that this fight is not worth fighting
I have seen their mothers
and I will no other
to follow me where I’m going

Take a shower, shine your shoes
you got no time to lose
you are young men you must be living
go now you are forgiven

but the men stood fast with their
guns on their shoulders not knowing
what to do with the contradicting orders
the general said he would do his own
duty bout would not extend it not further
the men could go as they pleased

but not a man moved, their eyes gazed straight ahead
till one by one
they stepped back and not a word was said
and the old general was left with his
own words echoing in his head
he then prepared to fight

go now you are forgiven

Who will be our general?

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