Wait until the war is over
And we're both a little older.
The unknown soldier.

Breakfast where the news is read.
Television, children fed.
Unborn living, living dead.
Bullet strikes the helmet's head.

And it's all over for the unknown soldier.
It's all over for the unknown soldier.
Uh.

March!
Company, halt!
Present arms!

Make a grave for the unknown soldier.
Nestled in your hollow shoulder.
The unknown soldier.

Breakfast where the news is read.
Television, children fed.
Bullet strikes the helmet's head.

And it's all over.
The war is over.
It's all over.
War is over.

It's all over, baby!
All over, baby!
Oh all right, yeah!
All over, yeah ha ha!
All over!
All over, baby!
Oh, oh yeah!
All over.
All over.
Yeah...


Lyrics submitted by yuri_sucupira, edited by ICanDoAnything

The Unknown Soldier song meanings
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32 Comments

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  • +5
    General Comment"Breakfast where the news is read.
    Television, children fed."

    these lines have many possible meanings

    "Television, children fed" could mean many things:

    --perhaps we somehow feed the television (by giving our energy and attention to it (i.e., as in The Matrix))... so the line means that we feed the TV and we feed our children

    --it could mean that the "television children" are fed --i.e., the children who are raised on TV are fed

    --it could mean that the children who appear on TV are fed food --i.e., the children (Vietnamese perhaps) appear on TV, eating food

    --it could mean that children are fed information in the form of TV -- just as adults are fed information in the form of newspapers ("Breakfast where the news is read"... interestingly breakfast is not where any food is eaten...instead breakfast is where information is consumed)

    -- it could describe a lifeless routine that is so meaningless that it only merits a few words, thought of in a zombielike trance -- i.e., wake up, have breakfast and read newspaper... turn on TV, feed children (food)... etc. ... in this case, the "living dead" are ordinary people, zombies caught in monotonous domesticated lives
    free333on April 02, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentWhen he sings "bullet strikes the helmets head" the first time in this song..it's like the greatest vocals ever..EVER!
    ZosoistheSHITon June 11, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti love it, in a live video of this song being peformed during the
    March!
    Company, halt!
    Present arms! part. Jim stands to attention and Rob Krieger hold his guitar up like a gun and strikes a cord on his guitar like a gun shot and jim falls to the floor and carries on the rest of the song from the stage floor. brilliant my favourite piece of live footage.
    seargent pepperon October 21, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"And it's all over.
    The war is over
    It's all over.
    War is over. "

    to me, these lines have at least 3 meanings

    1) for the unknown soldier, the war is now over b/c he has been killed (hence, not only is "The [Vietnam] war" over, but also "War [generally, and all else] is over")

    2) the irony that when the Vietnam war actually ends, and people celebrate (the next lines "...It's all over, baby! All over, baby! / Oh all right, yeah! / All over, yeah ha ha! / All over! ..."), then people joyously celebrating forget all of the unknown soldiers who were lost before the war ended

    3) it is a wish fulfillment -- the audience desperately wants to hear that the war is over ... and so they engage in this fantasy where the Doors tell them that the war is over (even when they know it not to be true)
    free333on February 26, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with you on the television feed children, but..

    Unborn living, Living Dead

    i think its saying the soldiers life is over before it even began...im pretty sure thats wat jim meant it to mean
    JimMorrisonon March 04, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentBreakfast where the news is read.
    Television, children fed.
    Unborn living, living dead.

    I've always heard the second line as "Television children fed", without the comma. Imagine a family at breakfast, with the mother pregnant, watching a morning news show on TV while they eat. Everybody at the table, both the adults and the children, are children of the television. They're alive, but they're brain-dead, not thinking for themselves, just staring at the television. The only truly living person at the table is the unborn child in the mother's body, but it will become brain-dead like the rest of them when it's born into that family. Sad.
    wdfarmeron March 30, 2003   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI take this song as,the vietnamese in the vietnam war, did not know who they were killing. just simply doing what they were told. and about how after the war they celebrated the war being over, noone knowing many of the soldiers who died. or how everyone continues on with life, not caring. a family has a son who is in a battle at the moment. do they know it? no. they are simply sitting. watching tv.not thinking for themselves. letting the tv think for them. completely unaware that the brother is in a battle, suddenly shot and killed. another platoon finds the dead platoon's bodies. the soldiers are unknown. im just rambling eh? probably dont have any dea what im saying.
    cw87on February 25, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThe Vietnam War was called "The Living Room War" because, for the first time, families could sit down and watch footage of the war showing events almost as they were happening. This is the specific context of

    "Breakfast where the news is read. / Television, children fed…"

    A family is reading about the war in the newspaper during breakfast and watching the war on TV and so children are "fed" the images of war and bloodshed in their own homes (perhaps as they literally eat meals simultaneously).

    "The Unknown Soldier"'s original sense is an American soldier who died in World War I (later, other unknown soldiers were chosen from other wars) and whose remains are memorialized in Washington as a symbol for all of the unknown, and unheralded, casualties of America's wars.

    Missing from these lyrics: When the drill call "Present arms!" ends, we hear a round of gunshots, sounding like a firing squad. The soldiers who are ready for war are mown down by gunfire at a moment that new soldier join the military.

    When the song concludes, at an increasing tempo, with the words, "It's all over / war is over," the implication is that the war is over FOR the unknown soldier, who is dead. The war is not actually over, and more soldiers will die.

    Morrison is, characteristically, subverting the establishment view here. Our response to the unknown soldier should not be one of pride for his sacrifice, but rather sympathy for his loss and an overwhelming desire to prevent this from happening. Thus, while the original memorialized Unknown Soldier responds to war and loss with positive sentiment, Morrison sees it as a horrible eventuality to prevent. Not incidentally, Morrison's father was an admiral in the US Navy, and this song is part of a generational rebellion against the generation before.

    The ideas in this song are quite similar to those in Dalton Trumbo's "Johnny Got His Gun," whose title ALSO uses language previously used to glorify war in a work that emphasizes the horror of war by examining the case of one tragic casualty. (Though in Trumbo's work, perhaps more horribly, the casualty is alive but catastrophically disabled.)
    rikdadon May 15, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI've always loved this song. It brings up so much imagry.

    Television, children fed.

    It makes me think of children being fed on TV, the grow up consuming what ever comes out of the tube. (and hey you are what you eat.) They gobble it up and beg for more.

    Unborn living, Living dead.

    I'm sorry, I know I'm gonna catch hell from someone, but this line always makes me think of abortion.
    The unborn are so important to some that they will kill Doctors (etc.) who have lives and families and people who care about them.
    Unborn living, Living dead.
    It's just my opinion...
    bluebirdofpeaceon September 29, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthey people im doing a college project on the The Doors (the greatest band EVER) and want to know if anybody has any ideas about how related to war this song is? is it related to the vietnam war and is it aimed as an opposition to authority?
    PB1on November 12, 2004   Link

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