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Top 30 Soldier Songs: #8 – “Didn’t I” by Montgomery Gentry

December 9, 2008

The Best of 1999-2005

In 2002 Mel Gibson starred in a war movie titled We Were Soldiers which was centered around the Vietnam War and one of the first battles that took place during the conflict involving the US, the Battle of Ia Drang. The film was based off of a book written by Vietnam veteran  Lieutenant General (Ret.) Hal Moore and reporter Joseph L. Galloway who were both at the battle and witnessed the events first hand. In addition to the film there came an album of music inspired by it and on that album was Montgomery Gentry’s “Didn’t I”.

MG’s song is centered around the concept of soldiers returning home and not getting the respect they deserve. This was quite common for the Vietnam veterans who are depicted in the film. When these soldiers came back home from war they were treated as baby killers, murderers, demons and any other filthy word you could think of. Looking back on it today it’s not that hard to declare that the American people were self-centered and careless. These same people who put their lives on the line and suffered through events like the Battle of Ia Drang were not welcomed home, but were reluctantly taken back into the society they fought to preserve and casted out for doing what they thought was the right thing to do. “Didn’t I” is a real eye opener for people concerning how they respect the Armed Forces.

The whole song is written through the eyes of a soldier, or many soldiers, as the way they were welcomed home is put into question. The narrator(s) explain how everything they did in war, good or bad, was to benefit the people back home. However when they returned home society shot them down and threw insults at them like they understood what it was like to kill another person or to be in the middle of a battle not knowing if it will be the last thing you see. In the end it all rolls around to one message, didn’t these soldiers lay everything down for the sake of our safety and security? That being the case then why didn’t they gt the respect they deserved? This is a question that this song helps bring to the public’s ears in order to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Despite the seemingly endless support of the American people for the US Armed Forces, many soliders, specifically Vietnam veterans, were not greeted with the respect they deserved when they returned home. They put their lives on hold and on the chopping block only to have their own people toss them out like trash for doing what they were to scared to do themselves. Not everyone has to be in the military, but, as Montgomery Gentry’s song shows, it is only right that we show respect for those who are. When you take a song like this and consider events like the battle in We Were Soldiers, you come to realize just how arrogant this country can be sometimes.

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