Monday, November 10, 2008

WE REMEMBER – November 11, 2008


Like Janus, the Roman god with two faces, each year we pause to look to the past, to honor the lives of those who labored and sacrificed for freedom, even as we dream of a future when we will live without war. The song that came to my mind immediately is “Bang The Drum Slowly” written by Emmylou Harris with Guy Clark. It’s an autobiographical song she wrote about her father, who was a veteran, but anyone who has ever lost someone dear and had things left unsaid, questions left unasked, will own a piece of it. Here, in Emmylou’s own words:

This is an elegy for my father, who died in '93. A couple of years afterward I was talking to (songwriter) Jamie O'Hara and said, "You know, I just feel the need to write about my dad. But I can't even get started. I have so many regrets because there are so many things that I could have learned from him that I didn't. Jamie said, "Just write that." I took the song to Guy Clark and he really helped me with the lyrics and inspired me to write more. Everything in the song is true. That's why it was so hard to write – I couldn't go into the realm of fiction or poetry. It all had to be true.

The YouTube video of “Bang The Drum Slowly” was posted by a family in honor of their father – A Tribute to Arthur Monroe Marshall Sr. – a family man, and a veteran. I don’t know any of these people, but it’s obvious they are a beautiful, close-knit and loving family. I think it’s really moving that they celebrated his life in this way – and generously posted it on YouTube and shared it with the world.



I’m also including a link to the lyrics to this song. I’m a dedicated Emmylou fan, but will be the first to admit that her diction isn’t always the best, so the words are HERE if you want them.


Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Video by YT member MarshallSteele
The song “Bang the Drum Slowly” is on the album Red Dirt Girl.

12 comments:

Poetikat said...

Even though I've never lost someone to war, or even had a veteran in my life, I am still moved their experiences - moved to the point of tears. Emmylou's song captures the sentiment perfectly.

Touching post. I hate to see when people lose their care or respect for this day. I've seen it in corporate offices where people talk through the moment of silence and I've seen it out in public when young people don't "get it", but there are youth who do understand and will continue to perpetuate the memories - if nothing else, that's what modern wars will do as well.

Kat

Sylvia K said...

This is such a lovely and touching post. Now more than ever we need to be aware of the real cost of war for families who have lost love ones and what those losses mean to all of us as a country.
Thank you.

Wren said...

I felt the same way at Pearl Harbor when I was moved to tears and it was obviously just another tourist site for some visitors.

Beautiful song - I have it playing in the background as I'm typing this.

Squirrel said...

Very nice post. Dads are so important.

Lin said...

fun to watch a family change through the years and see the love in action. I appreciate all the veterans in our families that gave of their live's energies and time. My stepfather served in WWII and was hesitant to talk about it but dreamed of it often. What a sacrifice they made.

magiceye said...

beautiful tribute

gardenpath said...

I didn't remember who wrote that song. It is lovely. My dad is buried in a military cemetery at Ft Gibson, Ok. I am sure some of my Oklahoma relatives will be at a service there today.

Corey said...

I am Corey Marshall-Steele, Arthur's baby boy, who created the tribute to my Dad after he passed away earlier this year. Thank all of you for your heartfelt words on this Veteran's Day. My best, Corey

Quiet Paths said...

I really like and respect Harris' work so much. Very powerful and thank you for this post.

Deborah Godin said...

@ Corey Marshall-Steele -
Thank you Corey for stopping by, and my apologies for not contacting you through YouTube! It was on my list for things to do this morning, but my day kind of took off in another direction, and it slipped my mind. My best wishes to you and all of your family.

Shellmo said...

Very moving!

SandyCarlson said...

A beautiful, heart-rending post. Haunting. Emmylou Harris? God bless.