What does 21 Guns mean?

Green Day: 21 Guns Meaning

Tagged: War | Suicide [suggest]
Album cover for 21 Guns album cover

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. anonymous
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    Oct 9th 2009 !⃝

    Read the poem below written about the Great War. It was written by Wilfred Owen and has similar themes to "21 Guns," written almost 100 years previously. War was no good back then; it is no good now.

    Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
    Till on the haunting flares2 we turned our backs
    And towards our distant rest3 began to trudge.
    Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
    But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots4
    Of tired, outstripped5 Five-Nines6 that dropped behind.

    Gas!7 Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
    Fitting the clumsy helmets8 just in time;
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
    And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime9 . . .
    Dim, through the misty panes10 and thick green light,
    As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
    In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
    He plunges at me, guttering,11 choking, drowning.

    If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
    Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
    And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
    His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud12
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest13
    To children ardent14 for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
    Pro patria mori

  2. anonymous
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    Sep 27th 2009 !⃝

    I think it is about breaking up - divorce.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  3. anonymous
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    Sep 25th 2009 !⃝

    I think it's about smoking the brown on a daily basis.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  4. anonymous
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    Sep 22nd 2009 !⃝

    This is what makes great music...it's interpreted in so many different ways. No one is "right" or "wrong". Obviously this was written about war and battles. What kind of war/battle is left up to the listener. It all depends on their experiences in life =)

  5. mynameismudd
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    Sep 20th 2009 !⃝

    You guys have it all wrong. The entire song is about overcoming alcoholism and other addictions. Then, and only then can you truly achieve happiness with one another.

  6. soulja
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    Sep 18th 2009 !⃝

    I think you need to stop looking at the meaning and look at the fact that we are in a war and going to be as long as there are people that want you dead. I also think that green day wants peace but guess what cry all you want for it. it aint going to happen. Give War A Chance. I want peace just as much as the next guy. But until they stop killing my buddies in Afghanistan then we will be at war. So either get behind the troops or stand in front of them. the only reason you have the right to sleep in a warm bed and sleep in peace at night is cause hard men stand ready to do violence on your behalf.

  7. anonymous
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    Sep 18th 2009 !⃝

    I think everyone needs to look past the obvious and also think about other wars we face everyday even 1 such as the war on drugs. (notice in video when bong gets shot) I thought it was pretty cool even tho I do like to occasionally indulge in recreational experiences my self. But it's a cool video for everyone to find there own meaning in, about our wars within ourselves

    Peace dude.

  8. anonymous
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    Sep 16th 2009 !⃝

    All honorable military members are eligible to have a military funeral and 21 gun salute (not just the president). Does anyone think this is directed at telling military members what they're doing isn't worth it? Or asking them if they think what they're doing is worth it? Haven't seen the video, so just going by hearing the song.

  9. anonymous
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    Sep 11th 2009 !⃝

    one, 21 guns. one means one man. 21 guns are the 21 salut shot. only the president get 21 salutshots. the song shows us the life of people who losted a person. and the people should stop fighting for one man.the president. mm very bad english. my bad. i'm sry^^

  10. jhendl
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    Sep 5th 2009 !⃝

    Like American Idiot, Green Day tells the story throughout the album (what makes it so compelling). I'm not sure that the video is meant to relate to the overall meaning of the album, but to me, Christian represents the Christian religion and Gloria represents the concept glory/victory/patriotism. That theme seems to resonate throughout the album. Agreed that 21 refers to the 21 gun salute. The album seems to point to the US Government using religion to coax people into believing certain things and the concept of glory as a way to justify any misgivings about the war in Iraq. Just one opinion, but it seems to fit when you look at this in the broader context of the entire album.

  11. Audrey
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    Aug 25th 2009 !⃝

    After watching the music video, it seemed like the two had already found each other, and that the point of the song or at least the video was the specific story within it. When the girl goes to look at the window, she sees police lights or at least blue and red lights. Then a gun shot hits the tv. It seems like the police open fire on their house. Then the phone rings (you see the button turn red) and she answers it and then drops it in the fish tank. Then the shooting continues.

    I wonder if the song is made for a specific occurrence? It may have a deeper meaning, but what exactly is occurring in the song is very clear.

  12. 2001MUgrad
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    Aug 19th 2009 !⃝

    It's just another anti-war and anti-George Bush song. These guys should move.

  13. anonymous
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    Aug 17th 2009 !⃝

    It is about war and the lyrics "and the hangover doesn't pass" talks about how the effects of the war will be felt long after it's over.

  14. anonymous
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    Aug 13th 2009 !⃝

    Don't you think "ONE, 21 Guns" just means that now with Obama there is the new president where both (soldiers and terrorist) can stop this war (21 guns is a method to welcome a new president in the USA)

  15. anonymous
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    Aug 10th 2009 !⃝

    I think that people are absolutely right in connecting this song to the Iraq war. I think the meaning behind the chorus is that the war was not even worth "one 21 guns," or one military funeral.

    The first verse introduces the soldier who has died in Iraq, and laments his loss--asking mournfully if the war was "worth dying for." The rest of the song focuses upon the people close to this soldier whose "pain [weighed] out the pride" in their friend/brother/son/etc.

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