Hero of War Analysis

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Hero of War Analysis Essay Sample


The theme of war is probably the most serious and commoving one. This terrible phenomenon makes people all over the world worry and pray for preventing it. The analyzed song was released on 20th May, 2009 in Santa-Monica, California. The song is included to the album “Appeal to Reason”.


The lead singer of the band is Timothy James McIlrath who is better known as Tim McIlrath. Tim is a reference of morality and justice in the modern world of music. As well as other musicians of the band, Tim is participant of a straight-edge movement, which means that they do not smoke, drink alcohol, use drugs, or have any fugitive intimate relationships. Timothy hates wars and always tries to explain people how disastrous and silly wars are. He always calls for peace and tries to evoke the same ideas in his audience by the means of his art.

The song “Hero of War” was released in 2009, the year when the war in Iraq was at its peak. Perhaps, it was one of the severest years for the United States troops since that year United Kingdom and Romanian troops ended their missions in Iraq and left the US troops there alone. All countries that participated in this horrible war suffered great losses since too many people were killed. All these horrible events evoked a desire to write “Hero of War” in Tim McIlrath. Though the song does not strictly point out the war in Iraq, the main message is to stop all wars.

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As one can see, one cannot state that the war in Iraq is referenced in the song. However, this very war was the main inspiration for writing this song. The musicians gave their audience an opportunity to observe the situation from two sides. In the first part of the song, one can see that the speaker is glad to go on a war, while in the second part he understands that peace is much better than making war. The song is critical about wars at all and gives rather controversial impression. The reason is that at first, the speaker acts immoral; for instance, he says that “I yelled my commands/The children, they cried/But I got my man/We took him away/A bag over his face/From his family and his friends/They took off his clothes/They pissed in his hands/I told them to stop/But then I joined in/We beat him with guns/And batons not just once/But again and again”. Later in the song, the speaker realizes that he is not doing a virtue and slowly becomes a bad man as well as others. After shooting a woman who was holding a white flag in her hands, the young man realizes that a white flag is the only one that is worth being trusted and loved.

In fact, it is the main message of the song that people should love their countries and flags, but if there is any choice, they should choose the white flag of peace. In many cases, soldiers do not even know what they are actually fighting and killing for. However, choosing the white flag, they always know the results.

Appendix – Rise Against – Hero of War  Lyrics

He said “Son, have you seen the world?

Well, what would you say if I said that you could?

Just carry this gun and you’ll even get paid.”

I said “That sounds pretty good.”

Black leather boots

Spit-shined so bright

They cut off my hair but it looked alright

We marched and we sang

We all became friends

As we learned how to fight

A hero of war

Yeah that’s what I’ll be

And when I come home

They’ll be damn proud of me

I’ll carry this flag

To the grave if I must

Because it’s a flag that I love

And a flag that I trust

I kicked in the door

I yelled my commands

The children, they cried

But I got my man

We took him away

A bag over his face

From his family and his friends

They took off his clothes

They pissed in his hands

I told them to stop

But then I joined in

We beat him with guns

And batons not just once

But again and again

A hero of war

Yeah that’s what I’ll be

And when I come home

They’ll be damn proud of me

I’ll carry this flag

To the grave if I must

Because it’s a flag that I love

And a flag that I trust

She walked through bullets and haze

I asked her to stop

I begged her to stay

But she pressed on

So I lifted my gun

And I fired away

The shells jumped through the smoke

And into the sand

That the blood now had soaked

She collapsed with a flag in her hand

A flag white as snow

A hero of war

Is that what they see?

Just medals and scars

So damn proud of me

And I brought home that flag

Now it gathers dust

But it’s a flag that I love

It’s the only flag I trust

He said, “Son, have you seen the world?

Well what would you say if I said that you could?”

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