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  • Black Wall

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      Dennis DeYoung

      ©1986 Grand Illusion Songs, Admin. Almo Music Corp (ASCAP)

    For those who served, whether by choice or chance and have cried "Back To The World"


    I was lucky you know I wasn't there

    And I didn't have to go and face my fear

    But still this hidden pain comes up from the belly of the beast

    And even ten years past

    We're haunted now from both sides of the truth

    And the ghosts of Ðiên Biên Phú


    This war keeps hangin' on as if it were today

    'Cause many a good man died on the road from Têt to Huê

    They won every battle they fought

    But the one that raged at home

    And now the only words that count Are the names carved out in stone

    As tears fall onto stone


    Black wall

    Black wall (My God)

    Black wall

    Black wall


    Sound the bugle boy for a twenty-one gun salute

    Call for the ticker tape and assemble all the troops

    Not a word about Dominoes or the horrors of Napalm

    Let Johnny come marching home and greet him with a prayer and a Psalm

    For the boys of Vietnam

    The boys of Vietnam


    Let him, let him

    Let Johnny come back to the world

    Back to the world

    Back to the world

    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)

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