The facts are dated but the sentiment is true. Thanks to Charlie Martin for this.

This is an anti-war song written by P.F. Sloan in 1965.  Barry McGuire sings it here though for many years he had refused to sing it due to his religious convictions. While others recorded the song, Mc Guire’s seems to be the most popular version. In recent years, McGuire has updated it to match more current events when he sings it during live performances.

References might be obscure to some:

  • old enough to kill but not for voting ~ at the time in the United States men could be drafted at eighteen years but the legal voting age in most states was twenty-one

  • Jordan River has bodies floating ~ refers to Battle Over Waters between Israel and its Arab neighbors, 1964 – 1967

  • the reference to Selma ~ Bloody Sunday and the marches in Alabama from Selma to Montgomery, 1965; these marches were a part of the American Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968); they helped lead the United States to the Voting Rights Act, 1965

  • four days in space ~ the Gemini space flight took four days, 1965

  • pounding of drums, the pride and the disgrace ~ President John F. Kennedy (the pride) was assassinated (the disgrace) and there were drums gently beaten as his funeral cortége made its way to Arlington Cemetery, 1963

I did this from memory, which these days leaves something to be desired. If anyone has corrections or thoughts to add, feel free. Also feel free to link in your own art, music, videos, essays and poetry to this post, which is part of our seven day solidarity with 100,000 Poets for Change … You may use Mister Linky to link in or you may leave your link in the comments section. One of the members of the Core Team will visit and ultimately we’ll also collect all posts submitted into one commemorative Page. The theme of this effort is Peace and Justice.

Thank you for your participation.

– Jamie Dedes

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