Editor’s Note: Bruce Springsteen composed “The Wall” in honor of Walter Cichon, a fellow guitarist and friend from his home town of Freehold, New Jersey, who was killed in the Vietnam War.
Cigarettes and a bottle of beer this poem that I wrote for you
This black stone and these hard tears are all I got left now of you
I remember you in your Marine uniform laughin’, laughin’ at your ship out party
I read Robert McNamara says he’s sorry
Your high boots and striped T-shirt, Billy you looked so bad
You and your rock-n-roll band you were best thing this town ever had
Now the men who put you here eat with their families in rich dining halls
And apology and forgiveness got no place here at all at the wall
I’m sorry I missed you last year, I couldn’t find no one to drive me
If your eyes could cut through that black stone, tell me would they recognize me
For the living time it must be served, the day goes on
Cigarettes and a bottle of beer, skin on black stone
On the ground dog tags and wreaths of flowers, with ribbons red as the blood
Red as the blood you spilled in the Central Highlands mud
Limousines rush down Pennsylvania Avenue rustling the leaves as they fall
Apology and forgiveness got no place here at all
Here at the wall
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