Veterans Day, I Hardly Knew Ye

It’s said that Memorial Day honors the dead, and Veterans Day honors the living. Today, on The Outskirts, I’ll do my best to honor both. I find these holidays disconcerting. Throw the Fourth in there too. Was there a time when we all stopped what we were doing and ventured out to parades to watch our Veterans march by in their old uniforms? Is that something made up for movies and TV? The point being, something is horribly wrong when we’re fighting two wars and people are dying on all sides and we’re so far removed from it that is makes little difference. The world is absurd, no doubt.
These themed shows are always controversial. I was hammered hard on this past Fourth of July for playing too many patriotic songs. I was apparently pushing forward some type of agenda. I was also loudly praised for honoring our men and women and uniform. Apparently, I was pushing forward an agenda. I was called a “fucking asshole” for playing John Prine’s “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore.” Well, its true. Both parts.
So, what do I do. I’ll tell you what, I’m going to play “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” a stunning version by Joana Smith, in the same set that I play Cat Stevens’ “Peace Train.” I’m going to play the Pogues cover of Eric Bogle’s song “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda,” as well as Kay Kyser’s “Bell Bottom Trousers.”
I’m going to think about the vets in my family. My Dad. My Uncle Hank, my Aunt Lorna, my Uncle Dick, my cousin Bobby, his dad, my Uncle Robert, my cousins Ricky and Ryan, my cousins David, and Andrew, and worry that I’ve forgotten some. I’m going to think about a guy named Kenny who calls me during Walkin’ the Floor and requests Junior Brown songs. Kenny lost his legs and Afghanistan. That, to put it mildly, sucks. Finally, I’m going to put my son to sleep later tonight singing Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” and wish him no wars. Then maybe, I’ll have a drink.


About Iaan Hughes

Iaan Hughes is a deejay on 91.3 KBCS in Seattle. He plays country & western music.
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5 Responses to Veterans Day, I Hardly Knew Ye

  1. Shannon Otto says:

    Love it, Iaan!

  2. auntmama says:

    This is nothing less than righteous. PLay on. Sing for no more wars. Have babies, throw out the tv and they were wonderful parades. write on.

  3. Lorna House says:

    Thanks for thinking of us on Veteran’s Day. I speak for myself (Aunt Lorna), but I would do it all again if my country asked.

  4. meatyard says:

    Hey Iaan,
    I like your site, this is a great blog!
    I’m in an LA based alt-country band, and was interested in sending you a CD for you to check out. Please let me know if that’s ok and if so where to send it. We’re called Meatyard, the CD is Sweet Old Green Life–it’s up on Review SHine, if you happen to use that service.

  5. jimmy says:

    makes me want to drink alchoholic beverages

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