700 Days (a song for a soldier)

May 28, 2012

I wrote the song in the early 1980s. For my dad. But it really could be for anyone’s dad. Or mom.

November 11, 1974 (700 Days) by Philip Martin

(for Jack and Yanko)

My father was a soldier.
He still has his soldier’s ways.
He was in Indochina
for 700 days.

I don’t know what he went there for,
I don’t know what he did.
I know there was some kind of war,
But I was just a kid.

Now he sits there in the darkened den
with his cigarettes and beer.
And when my mother calls his name,
he doesn’t seem to hear.

He doesn’t talk about it.
I don’t believe he can
He did one tour of duty
then he went back again.

My father was a soldier,
And I am a soldier’s son.
I don’t know what he fought for
I don’t know what we won.

If they call me to be a soldier
I guess that’s what I’ll be.
I guess not having any choice
is what it takes to live free.

I will do my duty,
And I will live or die.
And if I’m called to fire my gun
I guess I’ll have to try.

My father paces in the night
While I lie in my bed.
He stops at my bedroom door
And sadly shakes his head.


  • Comment by hinesmarsham — May 29,2012 at 7:58 am

    Love this! War destroys its players in more ways than death.

  • Comment by Philip Martin — May 29,2012 at 8:11 am

    Thank you. My dad was actually in the U.S. Air Force, but we do what we can.

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