What does 21 Guns mean?

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Green Day: 21 Guns Meaning

Tagged: War [suggest]

Song Released: 2009


21 Guns Lyrics

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...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    May 2nd, 2010 5:36pm report


    Most people don't seem to know the difference between the 21 gun salute and the 3-volley salute. The latter is indeed used for funerals while the former refers to a warship emtpying its guns, effectively disarming itself to show the lack of hostile intent.

    This meaning fits well into the general theme of the song: surrender, giving up the fight that is not worth dying for.



  2. 2TOP RATED

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 31st, 2009 10:34am report


    "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?"

    First two lines are pretty self explanatory. do you kow what's important to you, even if it isn't worth dying or?

    "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"

    You're in pain, but you're just too proud to get help, so you're hiding your emotions. You're in pain or "ruis" becau you've lost someone very important to you.

    "One, 21 guns
    Lay down your arms
    Give up the fight
    One, 21 guns
    Throw up your arms into the sky,
    You and I"

    This to me is like... Someone is trying to deal with pain by themselves, and thi other person is knd of sying "give up on pushing people away and just let me help you through this"

    "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"

    This person is feling really lost and hurt, and thinking about what happened and analyzing things is making everything worse.

    "Your faith walks on broken glass
    And the hangover doesn't pass
    Nothing's ever built to last
    You're in ruins"

    Maybe they're losing their faith in love or "forever" ("Nothing's ever built to last") or even god because of what happened. Secnnd line, the pain isn't get any better. They're in ruins.

    "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"

    they're trying to do things on their own and still trying to deal with eveything by themselves, and they're taking it to an extreme by not letting anyone in ("Did you stand too close to the fire")And they just can't do it alone, like you can't get 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"

    They're realizing that they can't get that person back and they have to move on and continue living their life, but soemthing is missing in their heart, and it's never going to heal; they're never going to be quite the same. They're going to continue to be in rins for a long time, ut they know they have to move on some time.

    "One, 21 guns
    Lay down your arms
    Give up the fight
    One, 21 guns
    Throw up your arms into the sky

    One, 21 guns
    Lay down your arms
    Give up the fight
    One, 21 guns
    Throw up your arms into the sky,
    You and I"

    Then I think when this is repeated at the end, the person is realizing they need help, and they need to stop fighting people who want to help and ind a new way to mourn their loss, mabe with someone who was also close to the deceased.

    And I think taken into the context of the album it's about Christian losing Gloria.



  3. 3TOP RATED

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 21st, 2009 7:38pm report


    Here, they're talking about hopelessness, uncertainty, and the ever-present pain.


    I like this line XD

    I'm pretty sure this song is about the pain of growing up and learning that things are never how they seem when you're a kid.

    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?

    This verse is finding out about the most important things to you and not wasting your time on things that mean nothing.

    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

    When you grow up you go through bad times and sometimes they are more powerful than the good times. It feels like you can't do anything right or life is pointless and you just want to hide.

    One, 21 guns
    Lay down your arms, give up the fight
    One, 21 guns
    Throw up your arms into the sky, you and I

    When the bad times are more powerful than the good, you learn to not trust anyone and try to be inpendent, but sometimes you need someone.

    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

    If the bad times you go through are really bad, you start thinking it's never going to get better and you want to die.

    Your faith walks on broken glass
    And the hangover doesn't pass
    Nothing's ever built to last
    You're in ruins

    If you're hurting inside, then you may start trying to destroy yourself using drugs and alcohol.

    One, 21 guns
    Lay down your arms, give up the fight
    One, 21 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?

    Sometimes you just want to be on your own completely but it never works.

    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

    Sometimes even though people want to help the pain you've gone through is so bad no one can help you, even if you want them to.

    One, 21 guns
    Lay down your arms, give up the fight
    One, 21 guns
    Throw up your arms into the sky

    One, 21 guns
    Lay down your arms, give up the fight
    One, 21 guns
    Throw up your arms into the sky, you and I



  4.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 3rd, 2013 1:09pm report


    I agree with top answer 2. i think it's about losing someone. I also think it's about drowning your feelings in anti-depressants and alcohol because of the writing on the walls in the video.



  5.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 18th, 2012 6:50am report


    There is to me two different meaning of course the first one is about the war and how it has affected all the soldiers and their loved ones

    the second one is about a couple who went through lots of hard time in their relation ship and when they decide to go alone they realize how hard it is and that they can do it together.



  6.  

    anonymous
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    May 19th, 2012 5:50am report


    This is an awesome song, with a deep meaning. Much better than JB and stupid modern day COMPUTER-GENERATED songs



  7.  

    anonymous
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    Apr 26th, 2012 4:31am report


    I think this song is about people who fight about things that aren't worth it. Their fighting pulls them apart, and they're miserable because all they can do is fight.



  8.  

    TheGritz
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    Apr 9th, 2012 4:11pm report


    First of all I'd like to point out this song is a story, nor is it about what you 'feel' it is about in your life. Giving abstract meanings like this helps nobody.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    21 Guns is a direct slap in the face to the US Govt for the war on terror.The significance of the title, as others have pointed out is when a battleship releases all of it's ammunition to show its peaceful intentions through disarming itself.

    ""Do you know what's worth fighting for,
    When it's not worth dying for?

    Does the pain weigh out the pride?""
    This is mocking the US for it's rationalization for the war.

    ""And you look for a place to hide?
    Did someone break your heart inside?
    You're in ruins""
    Referencing to 9/11 and how the US started the war out of fear without consideration for what would happen, and how it was because after 9/11 the US was in 'ruins'.

    ""Lay down your arms
    Give up the fight
    Throw up your arms into the sky,
    You and I""
    This is the call against the fighting. This song is a modern day protest song after all.

    ""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""
    Green Day is saying the US will gain nothing from the war and come out the way it went in, 'in ruins.'

    ""One, 21 guns
    Lay down your arms
    Give up the fight
    One, 21 guns
    Throw up your arms into the sky,
    You and I""
    Another call for opposition against the war.

    ""Did you try to live on your own""
    This is saying the US has alienated itself with it's policies of policing the world.

    ""When you burned down the house and home?
    Did you stand too close to the fire?""
    This is a direct reference to the amount of destruction the US has caused in the Middle East.

    ""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""
    These lines are the key to the song as it ties it together. Green Day is saying that once the US realized it made the wrong decision it was already to late, it had destroyed the middle east, alienated itself, and it won't be able to resolve the problems it caused. Again it is in 'ruins,' just as it had been after 9/11, which was the cause for the war on terror which was meant to bring it out of ruins. The US will make no progress from 9/11 by starting a war.

    ""One, 21 guns
    Lay down your arms
    Give up the fight
    One, 21 guns
    Throw up your arms into the sky

    One, 21 guns
    Lay down your arms
    Give up the fight
    One, 21 guns
    Throw up your arms into the sky,
    You and I""
    Green Day is restating their message by saying the way to avoid this outcome of being in permanent state of post-9/11 is to end the war on terror.



  9.  

    anonymous
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    Oct 19th, 2011 10:16am report


    I think that the song is about a long distance relationship, and the two people in the relationship (Christian and Gloria) are teenagers who don't have much control over where they are, but they love each other anyway. Although people always tell them to
    "Lay down your arms. Give up the fight," -meaning break up with him/her- they don't listen and they say to each other "Throw up your arms into the sky, you and I," meaning "Stay with me, it will be better later." At the end of the song, Christian and Gloria end up together despite all the doubt that other people had for their relationship because, again, the last words of the song were stated "Throw up your arms into the sky. You and I". They wanted to say that, as well as tie in the anti-war theme of the album and the song was created.



  10.  

    anonymous
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    Sep 28th, 2011 9:32pm report


    It's about a teenager that feels his life has no meaning.hes depressed and is gonna kill himself.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


  11.  

    anonymous
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    Sep 23rd, 2011 9:26am report


    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

    The part about the liar probably represents a person wanting to redeem themself to a dead person

    Stone=Grave



  12.  

    anonymous
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    Sep 3rd, 2011 9:07pm report


    There are a lot of great interpretations here.

    For me, it is about a specific elderly person that has dementia. They won't give up the struggle and try to maintain control, even though they need help. In life, we must surrender control to others at some point, even though we don't trust them fully.

    Ultimately we must surrender to death.



  13.  

    anonymous
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    Jun 24th, 2011 6:49pm report


    It's about how when you are young and naive, you fight pointlessly, in wars or relationships. But in the end, when you finally look back and see what's 'worth fighting for' and 'what's worth dying for'--when 'it's time to live and let die'--you realize that you could have sought peace and love, hence '21 Guns', the military's sign of no hostility. But it's too late.



  14.  

    anonymous
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    Jun 19th, 2011 6:03am report


    I think that it is about choices. It tells you that it is your choice whether you lie or not, kill or not, etc. I think it also trie to warn us not to give up, or make the wrong choice or the choice that will lead to destruction.



  15.  

    anonymous
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    May 27th, 2011 5:13pm report


    Green Day is a band that is 100% against war the whole "American Idiot" and "21st Century Breakdown" albums both express strongly their distaste and digust with the war that has been going on in Iraq and Afganastan(srry if i spelled that wrong) this song is about takeing our American troops out of war.



  16.  

    anonymous
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    May 25th, 2011 5:13am report


    21 guns is all about how fighting is not worth the effort. that with war only comes more war until someone ends up giving up and giving away what they lived years for.



  17.  

    anonymous
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    May 20th, 2011 5:18pm report


    it is awesome. it is talking about the wars that have no real meaning to it



  18.  

    anonymous
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    May 14th, 2011 5:53pm report


    This song compares the obvious circumstances of war to an argument with a loved one. It is hard to surrender an argument when one believes he is right, however this song suggests that at some point the argument is not worth degrading or destroying a relationship. Sometimes it is simply better to "throw your arms to the sky" and surrender to each other for the sake of the relationship.

    Sometimes one has to do what is best for the relationship and not for oneself.



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