"21 Guns" as written by and Billie Joe/pritchard Armstrong....
Do you know what's worth fighting for,
When it's not worth dying for?
Does it take your breath away
And you feel yourself suffocating?
Does the pain weigh out the pride?
And you look for a place to hide?
Did someone break your heart inside?
You're in ruins

One, twenty one guns
Lay down your arms
Give up the fight
One, twenty one guns
Throw up your arms into the sky,
You and I

When you're at the end of the road
And you lost all sense of control
And your thoughts have taken their toll
When your mind breaks the spirit of your soul
Your faith walks on broken glass
And the hangover doesn't pass
Nothing's ever built to last
You're in ruins

One, twenty one guns
Lay down your arms
Give up the fight
One, twenty one guns
Throw up your arms into the sky,
You and I

Did you try to live on your own
When you burned down the house and home?
Did you stand too close to the fire?
Like a liar looking for forgiveness from a stone

When it's time to live and let die
And you can't get another try
Something inside this heart has died
You're in ruins

One, twenty one guns
Lay down your arms
Give up the fight
One, twenty one guns
Throw up your arms into the sky,

One, twenty one guns
Lay down your arms
Give up the fight
One, twenty one guns
Throw up your arms into the sky,
You and I


Lyrics submitted by bfg1024, edited by otislover

"21 Guns" as written by Billie Joe/pritchard Armstrong

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., EMI Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC, TINTORETTO MUSIC

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21 Guns song meanings
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241 Comments

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  • +7
    General CommentThe 21 gun salute is the highest honor one can receive upon burial, usually in a military context. It makes me wonder, who was laid to rest here? An answer I'm not quite sure of.

    But the whole pairing of "One, twenty-one guns" I'm guessing reiterates the importance of the individual, the idea that one person can do something worth the honor of multiple others showing respect, especially if that person gave their life for a cause.

    The whole album has reminded me of the song "Acrobat" by U2; specifically, the lines "I'd join the movement if there was one I could believe in. Yeah I'd break bread and wine if there was a church I could receive in."

    Don't be an agnostic, believe in something. Those who do and die in such purpose deserve our respect.

    Don't let the bastards grind you down.
    davidecoyoteon May 17, 2009   Link
  • +4
    General Commentsecond verse is talking of after the war, unlike getting drunk, the after effects (hangover) never goes away. You're gonna be messed up for life.

    And in the third verse i believe it to be talking of how soldiers will burn down another families home. could you really live with yourself after killing someone in a fire? or maybe going crazy as some people do after a war, not being able to live by yourself and needing help.

    After you have killed the other soldier, you can never take it back. There are no second chances on taking another life. Once it's done, a part of you dies inside, No matter how tough you may be.
    nokejibijabon May 20, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General CommentGreat song by a great band. I think that people on this site get very defensive about what they think different songs stand for. A song can be interpreted a hundred different ways. I love when a band decides to let everyone else in on what a song is truly about, but I also love those who refuse to. This song made me feel a lot of different things.

    I really took to the line “Does the pain weigh out the pride”. This is something experienced by people every day. Things we choose to endure, whether for selfish reasons or moral reasons.

    I also agree with the above stated “21 gun salute” reference. But I think It can be interpreted a few different ways also. It is typically used to honor someone’s life after their death, laying them to rest, but I think that the “anti-war pro-peace” undertones give that a different twist. I feel like it stands for something a little bit bigger. Think about it. ONE 21 guns. As in ONE UNITED 21 guns. ONE UNITED 21 guns laying the war to rest. ONE UNITED action for the peace beyond the difference. You and I.

    I also think that the reference to “looking for forgiveness from a stone” is talking about people regretting not cherishing the life/time they had with people before they died. The stone being reference to the gravestone or headstone in a cemetery. Tied into the war, after it’s all over and no one is there to take the blame we have to look at all of the life that we did not cherish. Looking for forgiveness from the dead.

    Just sayin.
    YellowLedbetterLoveon July 15, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Commentvery different style from green day

    i like it
    budfighter77on May 07, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationWow great song. hooked instantly with the "1..., 21 guns." Could and should be released as 3rd or 4th single. Obviously antiwar or it could be about C&G(christian and gloria) situation. knowing what your fighting for and is it worth your life.

    "Like a liar looking for forgiveness from a stone". I really really love this line. I think its another stab at christianity and how christians look at jesus as a source of forgiveness. and their statues and crosses are the stones. thats my take in reading it at least. awesome either way.
    Tigreen555on May 13, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthe way I interpret this song is that war is so terrible, the people who fight in it and have the pride can be messed up for life for taking someones life. "And you look for a place to hide? Did someone break your heart inside?. You're in ruins"

    Just have one 21 gun salute to honor those who have died. then lay down the guns and hope you never have to pick them up again. "One, 21 guns. Lay down your arms. Give up the fight"

    People are constantly left in ruins from what they were forced to do in war. Just end the war and throw the guns in rejoice that it's all over. "Throw up your arms into the sky, You and I" <--- you and I meaning us and our enemy. Let's just give it all up. :)
    nokejibijabon May 20, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti think this song means that they are a bunch of fucking sell outs
    tbean326on April 22, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe song must have been written about war and how a soldier deals with the trauma afterward. But the beauty of it is, how each one can relate to it on their own level, cuz everyone is at war with something or the other at some point. I'd listen to the song over 21 times on loop when I went through a break up, made so much sense, and lent a direction. I love this song!
    reebee0511on December 29, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAn anthem for surrender.
    gd_edion May 16, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationIt's about a fighter. It's multifaceted, and not just anti-war. The fighter has been soldiering for years now. The thoughts in his mind are asking him now whether the cause he's fighting for is worth all it takes from him. Before he began to question himself, the fight brought him a great deal of pride.

    But something happened. This experience, whatever it was, has manifested itself in every thought inside the lover's mind. He's done everything he can think of to carry on with the fight like before, but this memory is in the way.

    That's just my interpretation, but what the hell do I know?


    irondal2on May 16, 2009   Link

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