"One of the most memorable songs about the Vietnam Memorial comes from the pen of Tim Murphy and has been recorded by Michael McCann who served in Special Forces in Vietnam. The fact that they were actually there gives this musical tribute, simply titled, "The Wall", an eloquence and emotional intensity that makes it one of the most moving and unforgettable pieces of music I've heard about any war. The compelling refrain effectively conveys a message that there is universality to "The Wall" that should touch the heart of every American.
"And every name's a father or a husband or a son,
or a daughter or a brother or a cousin to someone,
or a name might be a classmate or a friend you may recall,
there's nearly 60 thousand fallen names still waiting at 'The Wall' ".
"It is not inconsequential that both Murphy and McCann are Irish-Americans. Someone once said that to be Irish is to know that someday the world will break your heart. In a strange way, their troubled ancestry makes these men excellent choices to portray the pathos of Vietnam. It is almost as though there is some genetic memory at work in "The Wall", allowing Murphy and McCann to draw on all the trials that Ireland and Irishmen have encountered through history and so effectively describe the pain of those who visit the Vietnam Memorial. The fact that both were "line troops" during the war and highly decorated is another key element that explains their virtuosity in delivering this kind of music. McCann earned the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for Valor while Murphy received the Silver Star. He describes how he came to write the song about The Wall."
"I finally saw the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial at my brother Pat's urging. He'd served several tours in 'Nam, and suggested that a trip to The Wall might afford me the same solace he'd found there. I felt a vague ambivalence toward the Memorial, and was uneasy about finding the names of friends and comrades I'd served with in the 4th Infantry Division, 1968 and 1969.
"I remember that my first visit to the VVM brought to me a deep abiding comfort which endures to this day. I wanted others to know this peace that I'd experienced there, and so I tried to share my impressions in the lyrics of my song, 'The Wall'. Very few adults living in America today were not touched in some way by the experience of Vietnam. My wish is that my song will help people to come to The Wall to remember, and in their memories, find peace and comfort."
From Battle Notes - Music of the Vietnam War by Lee Andresen, Savage
Press, Copyright 2000.
More information at www.soldierssongs.com
View the music video of The Wall
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