Black Wall is about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, located in Washington, D.C. The song describes many items and locations concerning the Vietnam War. Dennis was involved with the Chicago Vietnam Veterans Parade Committee in 1986, which raised funds to bring a replica of the Memorial Wall to Chicago. The event in Chicago was the largest in the country. The phrase "Back to the world" is how United States soldiers would refer to the end of their service time in Vietnam. The following is an in-depth look at the lyrics and how they relate to the Vietnam War.
And the ghosts of Ðiên Biên Phú
The French, wanting to regain control of the area from the Viet Minh (League for the Independence of Vietnam), set up base in Ðiên Biên Phú to use as an air base, and to cut supply lines for the Viet Minh. From the highlands above, the Viet Minh were able to attack Ðiên Biên Phú and force the French to surrender. The battle marked the end of the first Indo-China War. During the Geneva conference that followed, Vietnam was divided into two countries.
'Cause many a good man died
On the road from Têt to Huê
Têt is the Vietnam New Year. The Têt Offensive was launched on December 31, 1968: Têt Nguyên Ðán (lunar new year). The Viet Cong united with the North Vietnam's People's Army of Vietnam and went from city to city in South Vietnam. The bloodiest battle occurred in Huê, where it is believed that thousands of civilians were executed.
Not a word about Dominoes
The domino theory was that if one nation in a region became controlled by Communists, then others nearby also would fall into Communist control, similar to a row of dominoes falling. This theory was used by the United States to help justify their involvement in the Vietnam war.
Or the horrors of Napalm
Napalm is a flammable liquid fuel weapon. It is made by mixing gasoline with styrofoam (napalm-B). It was designed because gasoline burned too quickly to be used as a flammable weapon. The original makeup of napalm added a soap made from naphthenic acid (chemical name naphthene). The addition made napalm as flammable as gasoline, but burned at a much slower rate. Napalm burns at around 1000°C (1832°F)
The Dan Ryan Expressway is the major interstate that links Downtown Chicago with the southern suburbs. As a part of Interstate 94, the route technically runs east/west, although geographically the Ryan runs north/south.