I want to be really clear about this. I’ve gotten emails from soldiers who dig it, but I want to make it totally explicit what the song means.
The first verse is about guilt. That I can go about my daily life without thinking of the violence and the fear in Iraq, and the sacrifice people are making over there.
The first part of the second verse is about frustration with political pissing matches, instead of unity among our elected representatives to serve these guys. The second half is about how the war haunts me; how I see dudes in uniform in airports and wonder what’s going on in their heads, what they’ve witnessed.
The bridge is about lost innocence. Young guys that go over there and come back scarred–bodily, often, but also psychologically, that so many of them will have the burden of post-traumatic stress disorder, nightmares, haunting images.
I wrote the song basically out of two experiences; I went to Walter Reed last year, met some guys who had lost limbs, and came out scared and grateful. And I grew up an Army brat in the 70s, when many of the adult males around me were in Vietnam, and there was lots of strange behavior that I now recognize as PTSD.
Fort Hood is the base in Texas that’s lost the most people in Iraq and Afghanistan.