I recently unearthed a copy of a folk song – from 1959 – by the very memorable Malvina Reynolds. I had lost track of it, but Pete Seeger very kindly found it and sent me a copy. It is most relevant now. Despite the technical advances in warfare that may make the reference to shovels obsolete, perhaps, the sentiment is alive and well and thriving!

– Ellen Perlo

We Hate to See Them Go
By Malvina Reynolds (1959)

(intro) Last night I had a lovely dream
I saw a big parade with ticker tape galore

And men were marching there the like I’d never seen before

The bankers and the diplomats are going in the army

O happy day! I’d give my pay to see them on parade

Their paunches at attention and their striped pants at ease

They’ve gotten patriotic and they’re going overseas

We’ll have to do the best we can and bravely carry on

So we’ll just keep the laddies here to manage while they’re gone

The bankers and the diplomats are going in the army

It seemed too bad to keep them from the wars they love to plan

We’re all of us contented that they’ll fight a dandy war

They don’t need propaganda, they know what they’re fighting for

They’ll march away with dignity in the best of form

And we’ll just keep the laddies here to keep the lassies warm

The bankers and the diplomats are going in the army
We’re going to make things easy ‘cause it’s all so new and strange

We’ll give them silver shovels when they have to dig a hole

And they can sing in harmony when answering the roll

They’ll eat their old K-rations from a hand-embroidered box

And when they die, we’ll bring them home and bury them in Fort Knox.

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