Posts Tagged ‘emotion’

War Songs, Pt. 2: When I’m Gone…

7 September, 2010 Leave a comment

After Iraqi Freedom came Enduring Freedom as the War On Terror trundled on, Op FINGAL became Op HERRICK and our future career paths were mapped for at least a decade. I found myself in Afghanistan with a new trade in a position beyond that which my rank secured and I revelled in it.

This time I believed why we were here, I had a purpose and goals to achieve during the deployment. I had my sights set on promotion, education and experience. I got all 3, although the latter came in ways I’d never expected.

During my tour of duty I made friends with soldiers who faced death every time they left the confines of camp. All of them had experiences they would never discuss, most of them returned home safely with memories they would rather forget and some of them made the journey home under their Nation’s flag unaware they had been carried home by those who honoured their sacrifice. These experiences, and that of losing a friend caused me to write the lyrics to An Ordinary Man on my return. It also made me question my career, my role as a Father, husband and friend.

I’d never heard of 3 Doors Down before my deployment and, had I not worked closely with some US forces I probably wouldn’t have. As it was I received a copy of their album Away From The Sun from the same guy I bought my Ibanez from (yes, I bought a guitar on tour!) and am forever grateful for the discovery.

The straight forward American rock is easy to listen to and original enough prevent it ever sounding stale. The lyrics however, are what had me hooked. This tour was the hardest I’d done so far and, with my doubts over my role, the feelings I had for my family and the thoughts I held regarding all aspects of home they struck a chord. Two in particular seemed to echo my thoughts and feelings at the time, one was When I’m Gone and the other Here Without You. They’re two very different songs, one mainly acoustic, the other much harder and despite the similar sentiments to me they mean very different things. One is full of gratitude for the strength given by someone special and the will to carry on while the other is a promise that, despite all that happens, nothing has changed.  I’ll let you decide which is which…

So hold me when I’m here, right me when I’m wrong
Hold me when I’m scared and love me when I’m gone
Everything I am and everything in me
Wants to be the one you wanted me to be
I’ll never let you down even if I could
I’d give up everything if only for your good
So hold me when I’m here, right me when I’m wrong
You hold me when I’m scared, you won’t always be there
So love me when I’m gone

I’m here without you baby but you’re still on my lonely mind
I think about you baby and I dream about you all the time
I’m here without you baby but you’re still with me in my dreams
And tonight, there’s only you and me
Everything I know and anywhere I go
It gets hard but it won’t take away my love
And when the last one falls and all is said and done
It gets hard but it won’t take away my love

It’s surprising how you can place your life in order through the music you listen to, the effect it had at a particular time and the meaning it inherits from your own feelings when you heard it first. It’s what makes music so special, it’s something different to each and every person who listens.