Dear Neil,
I want to thank you for your honest new album Living With War.  See, I am a child of the sixties, no really, I was born in ’66.  My mom was a non-active hippie but a later active feminist with ERA and George McGovern signs on our lawn.  Though she now teaches art history and has illustrated two children’s books, she was a campaign photographer for Tom Daschle in the early eighties.  My dad was a Marine and they divorced when I was two and I ended up with my mom.  And I was a mistake.  I listened to you as a kid, but I didn’t “get” you because, well, I was young.

Like a normal kid, I rebelled against against my mom.  She rebelled against my grandfather who was a Marine aviator in WWII.

Know what I did?  I grew up and became a Green Beret.  I was just in time for Reagan/Bush I and was assigned to Latin America in 7th Special Forces Group.  Unfortunately, I am still paying for that with guilt and shame that comes with my recently diagnosed PTSD, but hey, those are the forgotten dirty wars of the US.

Now I will be 40 next month and I rediscovered you a few years ago.  I’ve been listening to your “old stuff” as if it was a new discovery for me because now I “get” it.  As well as the NY band Sonic Youth (you produced them once or twice, bravo), The Clash, Audioslave, Rage Against The Machine, and a host of others.

But you are the master.  I’m not being a syncophant here, it’s your experience from the sixties/seventies that’s replaying a tragic story today.  I only wish you didn’t have new material to draw from.  Nevertheless, your new album speaks to me just as your “old stuff” spoke to my mother’s generation (I rediscovered CCR too, BTW).

Neil, unfortunately your message applies today just as it did when I was six years old and I wanted Nixon to be reelected because he had the same first name as I do – ah, the comphrehension of children!

So I do enjoy your new album.  It’s remarkable.  It gives me hope and motivation to correct the personal wrongs I did as a perpetrator and help my younger brothers and sisters in the Armed Forces as they will have a heavy burden for the rest of their lives.  They may not realize it now, but it comes back, later in life, when one is out of the military subculture and one realizes what they have done.

So thank you, for your message of my mother’s generation; and thank you for speaking to mine.  It’s just a shame that we didn’t listen to it and learn the first (?) time around.

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