Dawning day.
Mothers would wake and feed their children.
Our brothers would awake to mend their nets and sails.
They had the light of a boundless day dawning.
And a burning, living, driving will.

Meanwhile the old men sit on the top of a hill
wading through your legislation.
Wading trudging through your debate
about whether or not
to send
another hundred thousand young men and women
into the hurricane.

No taxation without representation.
We will not pay a toll in blood

The old men were sitting on top of the hill
while young girls
ushered playful ghosts by the creek.
Singing, they are following
golden fish into the marsh's reeds.
The old men sit on top of the hill
of 58,000.

Walking across the plain,
I am descending.
Six feet underground,
you send me here.
Every name,
every name,
upon this wall.
You send me here,
six feet under.
Why don't you take a short walk?

Walk out of your oval office.
Walk out of the state house.
Take a short walk across the lawn
and descend to six feet under
and read those names.
You're debating,
you’re still debating whether or not to send me here.
You're debating, you're debating,
whether or not to send more over there.
Six feet under,
you really do carry my weight.

Bats grazing in the sky
in the night sky above our houses.
Lightning bugs rising higher and higher.
As the sun leaves behind,
this valley,
this waking valley song…
a memorial.

Six feet to be under
you really did carry my weight.
The earth, I confess, is not me
but you in our unhappy state.
And you're still debating,

What is this?
A voice in his head.
A voice comes quick and it fades on.
It is this waking valley song.
Archaic and bent with time.
It is this memory.

It is this memory.

Lyrics submitted by omae_, edited by kete, Ouroboros115

memorial song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentIt's the Vietnam Memorial.
    instantramenon February 04, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentpossibly one of the greatest anti-war punk songs.
    themolotovon July 13, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti remember 1991 being a very intense year with the build up to what was known as desert storm. ie. iraq war #1 and this song originated at that time.we went to many many protest in DC at that time,and we even organized and performed one in annapolis( drums included) , the police followed us until we dispersed. although the war-drums were banging with fervor, the country had not taken the full force step toward fascism it has turned into today. although i have never seen the vietnam memorial up-close, their have been times,that i have seen it,and it has moved me to tears because it is so powerful.
    marcus ( x-moss icon member)
    marcusguernseyon June 20, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentby ear, again. any corrections, let me know.

    WARNING *long winded editorial* unlike most 'emo' bands, and part of what made moss icon so great and hard to define by this generic term, is that as time went on, instead of getting more introspectively personal and obtuse, they widened their scope musically and lyrically to move from suburban middle-class 'emo' cliche issues like alienation, hating your parents and/or friends, feeling bad after a breakup, etc. to issues of *real* substance. touching on things like the environment, native peoples, dare i say even "spirituality," etc. without going the way of laughable new age-ism or the even-then already worn out punk rock standard musical styles. all this with an amazing lyricism... look at sioux day, cornflower blue, lyburnum wits end, memorial, etc. for examples of this. instead of the accusatory 'you' in most emo/punk/alternative music that attempts to be revolutionary or political, the voice in their later songs changed entirely to narrative, or putting the 'you' into a wholly different context.
    omae_on February 04, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthats very true, well said omae.

    all the of the older stuff was a lot more refined, and i like it a lot more.
    DarkerShadeofWinteron February 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhat is this?
    a voice in his head
    a voice comes quick and it fades on
    it is this waking valley song
    archaic and bent with time
    is this memory
    it is this memory.

    is what i think he says. i love john's vocals in this song.
    DarkerShadeofWinteron February 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthanks for the correction. edited.

    "older stuff was more refined" meaning 'emo' stuff in general? i'd definitely agree. i have the feeling that people made music then really trying to get away from lyrical and musical cliches (which, then, in punk/hardcore, was being 'hard' and the usual suburban alienation/anger). so doing something different than that sometimes meant songs about deeper seated personal/psychological issues. sometimes it meant dealing with political issues without the heavy handed 'fuck the government' style prevalent then.

    the whole 'emo' style itself has become so cliche and used up now that its come all the way back around but instead applied to the same corny issues that standard pop songs address... girlfriends, breakups, high school romance and heartbreaks. a sad inversion.

    in the end, the music needs to be more than something for skinny emo kids to lie in bed at night and cry over in carefully chosen ipod playlists.

    enough bs out of me.
    omae_on March 01, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentdefinitely antiwar. and in the best way too. I love the line 'six feet under you really do carry my weight'
    storyofmylifeon February 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about the Vietnam Memorial in DC (near the area where the band formed in MD). The 58,000 names are the names on the wall that you read as you descend below ground level. The memorial is part of the Mall, a "short walk across the lawn" from the White House and US Capitol. He is asking people in power to realize the consequences for the soldiers they are sending into war, and on the native populations in the "waking valleys" that get destroyed in their geo-political game.
    aristotelianon January 02, 2015   Link

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