76.6 F
Thursday, August 11, 2022

Veterans in Touch – The Quiz


Question: “What was the number one song in Vietnam through the years that still unites Vietnam Veterans today?” Don’t look now, but the answer is at the bottom of this column.

For most of us, the war in Vietnam was a grim illustration of the messages pounding out from sound systems in barracks in the base camps, on Armed Forces Radio night and day, and everywhere in the country. The music had a message. And to a lot of us, it came loud and clear. Ironically, we were in a major battle with the Vietcong defending our outpost and somehow a radio started playing Edwin Starr’s song “War/Good God Y’all / What is it good for? / Absolutely nothin’,” Needless to say, after the battle we wondered how that radio got turned on and the irony of the song.

Did music make us whole again? No matter what music genre you identified with, be it Hendrix, Motown, Southern Rock, Country, Beatles or Stones, I think the music brought us together. Homesick, hot and sweaty, music was a way for us to bond. When my team would come back to basecamp every 2 to 3 weeks, we would first of all get a shower and shave, then go to the club, drink cold PBRs or Buds; and just relax, feeling safe and listening to the music popular at home. Soldiers would harmonize when their favorite songs were played, passed liquor to their buddies and talked about wives and girlfriends back home; and dined on Spam, powdered eggs, stale hard bread, crackers and cookies. Yummy!

Today, sounds, smells and music bring back memories. The sounds of helicopters, jets and music from my time in Vietnam bring back those memories and causes flashbacks. Some of the songs that made an impression on me were:

  • “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen
  • “Ballad of the Green Berets” by SSG Barry Sandler (That song was universally hated by all Special Forces Soldiers)
  • “My Girl” by Temptations
  • “And When I Die” by Blood Sweat and Tears
  • “Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin
  • “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Homeward Bound” by Simon and Garfunkel
  • “Leaving On a Jet Plane” by Peter, Paul and Mary

I am not sure the music made us whole, but it provided an escape from the harsh realities of war. The answer to the question up top is “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” by the Animals. Whenever I hear that song, I turn the radio up to blast level and start singing off key.

Get the Daily Square-Scoop

The latest local news and headlines delivered to your inbox.

Mike Barbour
Mike Barbour
Mike Barbour is a Service Officer, American Legion Post 43, and regular contributor to PN. Also contact him at mbarbour@wowway.com.

Latest News

Apply now for 10-week Citizen Police Academy that begins Sept. 28,...

Above / Naperville Police Department, located at 1350 Aurora Avenue, is now accepting applications for its Fall Citizen Police Academy, a course that includes...
The latest local headlines delivered
to your inbox each morning.
Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime.