Proud to Be an American While Hating the Song with that Lyric
Abu Muqawama‘s Charlie unleashes a diatribe against Lee Greenwood and, especially, the “miserable, treacly song” for which he is most known. Noting that the old warriors at a weekend Special Forces gathering “stood for it like it was the National Anthem,” she asks, “Is this some sort of Army thing? Does graduating from the Q course leave you totally devoid of a sense of irony? And at what point did Lee enter the pantheon of sacred songwriters?”
A fair question.
I never attended the Q Course and wouldn’t have graduated had I done so. But my Army experience, which began with a cadetship the same year “God Bless the USA” hit the charts, is that the Powers That Be apparently thought that song highly motivational, as they played it every damn chance they could. As an 18-year-old embarking on something serious, it had its desired effect. By the time I turned 20, it made me want to wretch. By my mid-20s, it made me want to do more than merely manage violence.
Then again, I wasn’t a career soldier. Most of my comrades-in-arms who stayed with it, many of whom are about to retire at the rank of lieutenant colonel, are simply decidedly less cynical than I am. Those old Green Berets have a highly developed sense of irony. But it’s quite different from the one Charlie and I have.