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February 19, 2008
The Free and the Brave (Part 2 or 10 or something...)By Greyhawk
A while back...
After effects of the Toby Keith concert: Wrote this country music song while driving around in my humvee. Maybe later I'll work out the guitar part and record.Looking back for that link, I was surprised to realize that was written in May of last year. I was in Iraq, the buildup for the surge was ongoing (though almost done) and we were about to launch some key missions. Meanwhile, back in America, Harry Reid was about to announce the whole thing was a failure. Time flies whether you're having fun or not.
A very rough cut of a song I wrote during my second tour of duty in Iraq, as part of the "surge" operation in the summer of 2007. I had no guitar or recording equipment on hand over there and this had to remain "in my head" for months until I returned home. I believe I've managed to transfer that music of the mind into digital reality without losing any of the original...
FWIW: I first used the phrase "They're making noise, we're making history" a few years ago as a comment to a fellow milblogger who was taking a tremendous amount of crap in his comments section on one of his posts from Iraq. It was my way of saying "don't worry about these REMFs - it's a hell of a lot easier to write from the comfort of their living rooms than it is in a tent. One of your words is worth about a thousand of theirs."Words to this version below the fold. (Mrs G insists she can't hear the singing. My excuse: the quality changed with each subsequent mix of this song, from original tracks to mixed final to video soundtrack to youtube upload. But my actual response to her complaint: turn it up.)
And if there are any bass players out there who want to throw down a track and send it to me, feel free. (Preferably ogg, but I can work with lower quality stuff, too.)
I may bore you with technical details on the creation of this later, as an update or in the comments if anyone's curious.
The Free and the Brave
Over in America, home of the free
The brave, far from home, are standing tall
Osama'd like to think that we can't get it done
Here making history, hearing the noise
So excuse me if I come home a little annoyed
We're making history
- Iraq, May, 2007
A note on the pictures: Most of these were actually in my head along with the words and music, I began adding the images shortly after the words coalesced. But like my guitar, they too were back home (on my computer hard drive) - except for those I took in Iraq during that tour. Many are from other milbloggers, and I can only remember the sources for a few. So if you see one of yours in the montage let me know, I'll compile a list of credits. (And you have my thanks.)
For my fellow troops still deployed: sorry, I know youtube is blocked and all you see is a big square gap up there. I'll get a version to you through other methods.
Posted by Greyhawk / February 19, 2008 3:44 AM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
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