Lay Me Down

So, there I was last night bored out of my skull, nothing to do but twirl my thumbs or play a video game I’ve mastered several times before. Neither option appealed to me at all, I think I’d rather do a spin class than any of those choices. Before I left I had placed about 315 GB of movies on my external hard drive so I had plenty of movies to choose from to watch. The unfortunate thing about it is that I’ve seen these movies like a hundred times before. I’ve just about got all the scripts memorized but with nothing else to do I decided to scroll through the 300 + movies on my external. I passed every movie, in reading the title the movie played across my memory in flashes of story and plot and conclusion. Frustrated, I came to the end of my list with the W’s, X’s, and Y’s. After replaying “You don’t mess with the Zohan” in my mind like the hundreds of others on this list I had to cuss out loud. A huge resounding F word made me feel no better or worse. So, I closed my eyes, spun my mouse pointer around, stopped and opened my eyes. My pointer landed on “We Were Soldiers”.

Courtesy of allmoviephoto.com
Courtesy of allmoviephoto.com

 

How convenient, nothing is more cliché than a deployed soldier watching movies of war on his off time.  After fighting the urge to redo my game of spin the mouse pointer, I gave up in wholly resignation. Although the plot and every scene in this particular film played continuously through my mind like a virtual picture show, I forced myself to watch the movie.  Every scene filled with emotion and every scene filled with the joy only known to soldiers once more snuck up on me.  Throughout the movie I found myself once again laughing, crying, and blood pumping in excitement as the 1st of the 7th Cavalry Regiment prepared to take the hill of the Ia Drang Valley.  Being in the Army stationed at Fort Hood, home of the 1st of the 7th has its benefits.  For one we get many different visitors of varying prominence, from presidents, vice presidents, and governors.  Honestly, I could give a rip when they visit, the best thing when they do come is I get to go home for the day.

One time we had a distinguished visitor to Fort Hood, none other than LTG Harold Moore. LTG Moore (ret) was previous commander to 1st of the 7th Cavalry regiment, as well as the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, and the 1st Cavalry division. As I am a sergeant in the 3rd brigade 1st Cavalry division I was interested by his visit. He was there to do a book signing for “We Were Soldier Once and Young” written by Joseph Galloway. He was also there to revisit his old stomping grounds.

So, there I was watching this movie for the one hundred and seventieth time and still captivated just by the scope of the story of it. I’m not the kind of guy to get all emotional at movies but this one never fails to squeeze a tear from my eyes or place a lump in my throat. I think though, since I have an intimate knowledge of what those boys go through on a battlefield it gets me. One song of the soundtrack which is played at perfect times really works with the story to drive the story home.

I am of Scottish and Irish ancestry and the Celtic fabric of my DNA and soul helps me to understand this song. It is a bagpipe tune of Scottish heritage, which when they are played by someone who knows what they are doing sounds mournful in the first place. This tune was played expertly, mournful and humming. If you made an extended ohm sound it would create the perfect melody with which to sing this song, I can sing it with my half Scottish accent I make. The song is called “Sgt MacKenzie.” The song was written by Joseph Kilna MacKenzie after his wife died. He wrote the song to honor his great grandfather Charles Stuart MacKenzie (Sgt MacKenzie) who died during WWI. Sgt MacKenzie was bayoneted to death while defending a badly injured fellow soldier. For more information please read what Wikipedia has to say about it.

I took the liberty of finding the lyrics, although I could understand ninety percent of the words sung on the movie I had to figure out what ains an ire meant and what nair mair meant.  Here are the lyrics in English for you to read and understand what is actually being said as the men of the 1st of the 7th charged the hill against a tough and determined enemy in what surely would be victory or death.  Also consider that this battalion had been pounded relentlessly by this enemy from all sides of their hold on the Ia Drang valley for two days.  Two full days of straight hell in a continuous firefight where your only thoughts are “I’m not going to make it.”

Lay Me Down

If it fits your fancy play the song as you read what is sung.

Lay me down in the cold, cold ground

where before many men have gone.

lay me down in the cold, cold ground

where before many men have gone.

When they come I will stand my ground

stand my ground, I’ll not be afraid.

Thoughts of home take away my fear

sweat and blood, hide my veil a tear.

Once a year say a prayer for me

close your eyes and remember me.

Nevermore shall I see the sun

for I fell to a German’s gun.

Lay me down in the cold, cold ground

where before many men have gone.

lay me down in the cold, cold ground

where before many men have gone.

Where before many more have gone.

This is a song written in tribute to Sgt. McKenzie.

Sometimes when something grabs a hold of our attention we can often find ourselves becoming obsessive about it and wanting to know more and more until finally our thirst for knowledge is quenched. However, sometimes that thirst is unquenchable and nothing will ever fill the void. For me, I get obsessive about things until there is nothing left to learn about. When it comes to soldier things in direct relation to Scottish things I am unquenchable. Perhaps as I ponder over numerous volumes of forgotten lore about the subject I’ll fix my attention and thirst on something else. Usually this is my only salvation in a world gone mad with video games and other pursuits of leisure.

Quite personally I believe the book is better than the movie because the book goes into more detail and is longer than the first battle.

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Comments 13 comments

Dame Scribe profile image

Dame Scribe 6 years ago from Canada

I go on and on but yes, my sons and I, do watch these movies as they are fascinated and we have high admiration for the courage and risk involved with your job, WC. They enjoy this movie too and mainly because it's around actual people and events. God Bless to you and all our soldiers. :) thank you so much.


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

Thank you Dame for visiting and commenting.


poetlorraine 6 years ago

do you like being a soldier, how long will you be one..... so nosey aren't i loved this hub


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

I like being a soldier just fine most of the time but with any other job in this world of ours there are ups and downs. I don't really know for sure how long I'll be a soldier but I've been one for seven years and have at least five left.


poetlorraine 6 years ago

that is some commitment. Must be so hard to balance family and life as a soldier, wow if you wanted to could you get out of it....


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

It is a hard line to balance. I could let my enlistment expire but I don't want to do that yet. Maybe when I get rich from writing or trading forex I'll have different views on the matter.


poetlorraine 6 years ago

ah well it is your choice, even though yous seem to have chosen quite a hard life, you must have your reasons


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

Nothing worthwhile is easy poetlorraine. Thank you again.


a soldier 6 years ago

i am a soldier and this songs sends shivers down my spine. it's simple eloquence and request that we only be remembered means more than anything else. please listen to this song and think of those that serve.


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

Soldier, I'm glad that this song also moves you as much as it does me. Your sentiments here are spot on and well appreciated.


Nobody 5 years ago

I also am obsessive with such things. I replay the hymms and read the lyrics all night to this song and Mansions of the Lord. My admiration for soldiers or anyone in the military is unbounded and though they may not know it, they are loved and are true heroes, unlike sports stars, actors and politians. Soldiers are ultimate heroes without question. I only wish I would have served in some capacity. I now yurn for it. Now I'm 55, much too late and it is something I will always regret. I feel ashamed that I did make the sacrifice. Saying "Thank you" isn't enough, but "THANK YOU"!


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 5 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

Thanks for reading and I am glad it struck a cord with you. Thanking us is appreciated but just remember that you are merely thanking us for the job we do, which invariably becomes who we are as people. We thank you for not forgetting us and honoring us with your praise. Thank you.


angie ashbourne profile image

angie ashbourne 4 years ago

Hi! wesleycox I enjoyed reading you Hub. Angie

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