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Fifty Years On

from Snaps by Harvey Andrews

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Dedicated to my mother and father, who married in 1940 and then helped the war effort as their youth slipped away. Dedicated also to all those heroes and heroines who, at the war's end, voted for a promise of health and education now being betrayed.


He was first one out of the landing craft
When the ramp hit the churning sand
He was first one out of the red-cross train
To the sound of the big brass band
He was first in line for his demob suit
When the war he'd fought was won
Then he settled down, rebuilt his town
Thought his job was done
Fifty years on, fifty years on
He's grown too old, his house is sold
And all his money's gone
Like him it's thrown to the nursing home
Fifty years on

She ferried fighters through the sky
She flew the big ones too
There was no job the air force had
She felt she couldn't do
From dawn she'd toil with plug and coil
Her scent was oily rag
Her mad days and her salad days
Given to the flag
Fifty years on, fifty years on
Her face is bruised, she's been abused
And all her spirit's gone
He was just a child, but the kids are wild
Fifty years on

Fifty years on, fifty years gone
And they've lost a war they could have sworn they'd won
Fifty years on, fifty years gone
And the kids say please to the Japanese
Can we work for the new Nippon
Fifty years on

Yes the kids are wild and on the street
Fifty years on
But the courts are mild when they mug and beat
Fifty years on
They were youngsters then, they were boys not men
Girls who grew too fast
They were our front line now it's me and mine
And the old ones come last
Fifty years on, fifty years on
They're fighting still, they always will
But with so many gone
They stand with pride, but someone lied
Fifty years on, times passed
Fifty years on, they're last
Fifty years on


from Snaps, released January 1, 1995


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Harvey Andrews Shropshire, UK

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