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Wake Me Up When September Ends

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I don’t know whether to pack the car and take a roadtrip to New Orleans or curl up into the fetal position and cry myself into a month-long hybernation. We are in the shade of the three-day, Labor Day weekend and the shadowing reminder that Mother Nature and Life, both, go on.

Unemployed and without reason to celebrate, alive and without fear of homelessness, I take stock in humility. We should all be so rich and so embarassed. On Sunday, I watched Hurricane Katrina move across the Gulf of Mexico – not unlike the sauntering musicians and celebrities at the VMAs in Miami – praying for the best and hoping to see history…Train-wreck awe and masochism.

As the first photos, the first videos, and the first reports live from the “City beneath the Sea” started to flood the internet and the television, I think we all should bow our heads in shame – or maybe, just me – for wanting to witness history and forgetting about those having to live it. It’s easy to feel sorry from here. It’s hard to look away from the damage, but easy to look past the faces of the affected.

When you see a picture of the devastation, do you first see the person crying out for help from their roof, or do you see the rising flood waters just below the roof-line? It’s okay, they aren’t looking at us; the homeless survivors are looking to the rescuers, the camera is looking at them…we can be the “fly on the wall.”

And that’s exactly how I played it. I disassociated myself from the Katrina situation because I’m so far away, gas prices are going up, and I’m ashamed that I secretly wanted to see the city disappear. But the eyes of helplessness cannot as easily be dismissed. I blame it on the dog. In him/her, I saw the confused tears in in America. And all of a sudden I can’t get “Behind These Hazel Eyes” by Kelly Clarkson out of my head…or “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Green Day.

And, WTF?! One an American Idol; the other American Rejects. Opposite spectrums and passionate about it. Still, I don’t want to like Kelly Clarkson. I don’t want to fall into that American Groupie category. But, I hear that song and I relate to something. Or maybe I’m just hearing in that song what I choose to.

I watch the video for “Wake Me Up When September Ends” by Green Day and I can see something similar there. It’s easier to empathize than to sympathize. It’s easier to imagine the pain of loss rather than know it. It’s the way of dealing with everything only as it pertains to us individually. Loss of love: Loss of life. Both the American ideal of pain and suffering – the anti-American Dream. It’s happening to our soldiers overseas and now it’s happened to our neighbors in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi…yet it’s the camera that sees and feels it all.

When does it start to hurt? It should, shouldn’t it? I mean, even under blue skies, we should feel at least a little guilty for having our family and friends around the weekend BBQ. I remember going to my grandfather’s funeral a number of years ago and found myself wanting to cry – should’ve been crying – but I couldn’t. That hurt. Not crying hurt me more than losing him.

I want to cry with Cindy Sheehan and the other suffering mothers. I want to pray with the counter-protesters. I want to drive to New Orleans and Biloxi and join the Red Cross just to help out in any way possible. but I won’t because I can’t cry. And, again, that hurts.

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  • Holly

    Hey guys, who has the conversation between the boy anh the girl in this clip, please contact me. Thanx thanx thanx a lot!

  • what boy/girl conversation?

  • shannnon

    i think that the song is a very powerful song and i think that it has or could have a very big impact on someones life.it all depends on how the ppl want to take it. i never knew that it was about his father i thought that it was about the war, maybe its because i seen teh video and thats what it makes it look like! but other than that i really liked it i thought tha it brought a good message, thank you

  • Aquarius

    “Wake me up when September ends”…this the best video ever made since the Iraq war and that would be since my son’s birthday..duh back in 03. The first time I saw the video.. ICAN’T HELP BUT CRY!!!!aWWWWWW..THAT HURTS! I swear..I picked up the phoen afterwards and called my bf and living him a teary vm about the video….Oh yeah he is a soldier. If that makes sense.

  • SPCBowensbabe

    The song “Wake Me Up When September Ends” always sends me to tears. My fiance is leaving for Iraq in less than a month and we can’t help but think that our time together has been cut short. I’ll probably try not to listen to it much in the next year and half, but I know that when it does turn up on the radio, my thoughts will immediately focus directly on him and the time we had together and I know the tears will roll again…

  • armani

    okay that is sooooooo [deleted] weird.

  • Bennett

    Please don’t do that.

  • i know thay say life is short. they say u wake up 1 day on that day .all ur dreams and everything u wish for and wanted gone just like that people. people get old and and things change and situations change and what is i want this moment right now this day my feelings for u the way u look right now. the way i look at u .i want this to last for ever u know.

    i know it will no matter wot weve always had this and had each other and nothing can change that but no matter wot u always have some one here for u.always im never gona leave u im never gonna leave u
    i love u
    i know
    i know
    dont ever leave me
    i wont
    dont ever leave me
    i wont

    wake me up conversation i sat and listend to it lol:P