Voices on the Wind Voices of Protest
Neighborhood Picnic, Memorial Day 2002 by Larry Turner Before we sit down to baked beans, macaroni salad, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Jack, the Vietnam vet, wants us to sing. “Anchors aweigh,” “From the halls of Montezuma,” “The caissons go rolling along,” “Nothing can stop the Army Air Corps”— all these I join in with gusto. After all, they are the songs of my Forties’ childhood, like “Old MacDonald,” or “Itsy, bitsy spider.” Next Jack wants us to sing the song of his outfit, “The Green Berets”. Someone complains it’s too long, and I never learned it. When they finish, I don’t suggest those that stirred my heart back then—something like “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” “What Have They Done with the Rain,” even the bitter, “With God on Our Side.” We finish with “God Bless America.” These days that’s all you hear. It’s become the “Silent Night” of patriotic songs, although it always reminds me of King Ahab and the prophets of Baal. So I stand alert, respectful, silent.