What does Hero Of War mean?

Rise Against: Hero Of War Meaning

Album cover for Hero Of War album cover

Song Released: 2009

Hero Of War Lyrics

He said, “Son,
Have you seen the world?
Well, what would you say
If I said that you could?
Just carry this gun and you’ll even get paid.”
I said, “That sounds pretty good.”

Black leather boots
Spit-shined so bright
They cut off my hair...

  1. anonymous
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    Jun 5th 2010 !⃝

    I'M A PROUD AMERICAN and i would like to say that everyone that is anti-war & and thinks the U.S. is fighting uneccasary wars(nobody here i hope) needs to shut up and appreciate all the hard work our soldiers are doing for us some paying the ultimate sacrifice of death to protect our liberty and freedom. I am not in the army yet (thinking about it; I am in high school) so i can not tell you what it is like to be a soldier but it is the hardest job in the world but has the greatest effect.


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  2. anonymous
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    May 19th 2010 !⃝

    In the begining of this song the dad or some one else tells him that he can earn money by holding a gun and that means joining the army. as he is in the army he finds it kind of difficult to beat up people and kill them but then he joins in. the meaning is that the army is harsh to their nemys and even though the people at home think he is a hero other people and himself dont. He dosen't like killing but it is his job and he is being paid and getting know for it. somewhere in the song he says that if he dies he will die a hero.

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  3. anonymous
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    May 9th 2010 !⃝

    well the lead singer was in the army reserve and so he was deployed to Iraq but he knew he when he got back as a hero but all he saw was the horrible-ness of the war and wanted other people to see his side.

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  4. anonymous
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    Apr 22nd 2010 !⃝

    Most of the interpretations are fairly accurate, but there's one major thing I wanted to point out. Iraq had a white flag under the Taliban, and I think that's the flag that the woman is carrying. So I think the point isn't that she was trying to surrender or something like that, just that she was acting on the same sort of love of country the soldier was.

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  5. philly4all94
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    Mar 10th 2010 !⃝

    Some of you may be mad at me for this, but I'm not here to interpretate. I'm here to agree with everyone who positivley reviewed the song. I listened to it and loved it, and for the first time, I actually cried to a song. Then I had my mom listen to it and she hated it because it was "anti war" and "viciously attacking our soldiers." I was... Yeah. I do believe he's saying wow, look at the effects on the soldiers. And it's the opposite of bashing. It's trying to tell people to STOP bashing. When he says "A hero of war, IS THAT WHAT THEY SEE?" I think he's saying that he did something he's not proud of but other people are. And lastly, I support our troops and will never, ever say anything negative about any of them. They've got the toughest job in the world. They've got some tough desicions to make. It's hard.

    G-d bless our troops. and the families too. Come home safe.

  6. anonymous
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    Mar 1st 2010 !⃝

    Well, most of the song is pretty straight forward.

    The chorus, or whatever the repeated part is called, contains a verse about "a flag I trust". I believe this to be the American flag.

    A flag gathering dust, however, may mean:

    A: The American flag, having been forgotten or

    B: The flag the girl was carrying.

    Also, during the official music video, a siren is heard, and a man with powder on his face is seen stumbling down a road. I believe this implies that the soldier turned to Cocaine to try to relieve himself from the psychological effects that the war had on him.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  7. anonymous
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    Jan 1st 2010 !⃝

    i agree i get the feeling an army recruiter is saying the first bit, then in the second verse and corus he sees what lifes like and that some things he does may be morally in the grey area and doesnt like it, while still trying to convice himself that hes a hero of war and everyone will love him. then after he kills that innocent woman with the white flag he feels betrayed and angry as well as sad.

  8. anonymous
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    Nov 27th 2009 !⃝

    Personally I think the point the artist of the song is trying to get across is that the American government is using the patriotic nature of the average american brainwashing them into thinking their going to fight a war when in reality their acting as an occupational force...The artist goes on to say they kick in the door of a home ignore womens screams and grab their man, the image that comes to my mind is scenes from old World War 2 movies when German soldiers kicked in the doors of allied collaborators. The fact that the artist says he shoots a woman who is trying to get out a warzone for fear for his own safety (assuming) and that he tortured the man he captured and then when he goes home and people tell them they are proud of him. This is the song for a soldier who's concious tells him what he's doing is wrong but rich and powerful men in government tell him he's is in the right.

  9. anonymous
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    Nov 9th 2009 !⃝

    Personally, I think that the man and the woman in the verses are not just people. I would say that they signify something, maybe freedom/liberty and life/peace respectively?

    I think that the man signifies freedom/liberty because he is arrested (maybe unfairly) and is abused in a sort of jail. I think that the woman signifies life/peace because she has a white flag and she is killed.

    As another interpretation sais, the narrator is trying to convince himself that he is doing the right thing. Does he really see her as a threat or does he kill her and then convince himself that she was a threat.



  10. joe_green
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    Oct 5th 2009 !⃝

    First of all, I agree: it is not the person's father who tells him to join the army. it may have been simply a random amry recruiter.

    That said, while I respect everyone else's opinions on this song, I must also submit my own. I think Hero of War shows the perspective a soldier, a soldier living in a war zone. The entire song is about war, of course, but it's more than that. It is explaining about the perscpective of war. What is horrifying and grotesque to one person can also be glorifying and honorable to another. Should war have a perspective? Yes. That is what Rise Against is trying to say with this song. They tell the story from the soldier's point of view, which he sees as rather glorifying, but that also means that the horrors of war stands out even more to the listener...

  11. jwronski
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    Sep 19th 2009 !⃝

    The song is about being a Soldier and how in war very messed up things happen. After you get back you think about what you have done, and realize how can I be called a hero of war when I have done all of these horrible things.

  12. MetricSU
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    May 4th 2009 !⃝

    It is not the soldier's father who suggest he join the military. Presumably, his father would know whether his son had seen the world. This is clearly a recruiter who is softening the kid up by calling him "son."

    The song pretty much speaks for itself, but I want to comment on the end, where the soldier brings home "the only flag I trust." I think this is the white flag the woman was carrying when he shot her. A flag representing peace certainly gathered dust during the Bush administration.

    I see the song as anti-war more than anti-soldier. Unless one has spent time in that situation, I don't think we can imagine how we would react. And the vast majority of our soldiers behaved honorably, I think. But clearly in a large enough population carrying dangerous weapons, there are going to be some who crack and behave deplorably.

  13. anonymous
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    Dec 2nd 2008 !⃝

    For everyone that keeps asking me what this songs about here it is short and to the point;

    There's the obvious story of a boy 'tricked' into joining the army. The song continues to criticize government and human nature, he blames his government for making him cruel (he beat the man and killed the girl), trading scars for medals and pride .

    If you want to over analyze and look at the song as an extended metaphor for a failed relationship or the love he lost;

    "Flag white as snow"
    white as snow= purity,sometimes innocence
    A white flag= surrender(literal and metaphorical) sometimes mourning

    And I brought home that flag
    Now it gathers dust
    But it's a flag that I love
    It's the only flag I trust

    In a reality this is just and acoustic song meant to sound profound and controversial in an attempt to surpass the success of "Swing Life Away" or maybe I'm just cynical

  14. tdgfan52
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    Nov 19th 2008 !⃝

    I agree with "anonymous" but I think that is the literal meaning of the song and there is a deeper one. At the beginning his father offers him the job to be a soldier. "what would you say if I said that you could". as he becomes this "hero of war" he talks about in the chorus how everybody will be proud of him and he would die for this country. But, when they invaded a foreign house they captured the target which is an old man.

    "a bag over his face. They took off his clothes. They pissed in his hands" -they pretty much just tortured the guy

    "I told them to stop, but then I joined in." He tries to tell them to stop but then he decides that it's no big deal and he joins in with them.

    Slowly this "hero of war" is changing into something that he wasn't before he even started, and he knows it too. In the 3rd verse he describes something that happens on the battlefield. A lady was running to them from the other side and he yells at her to stop but she keeps going and he kills her. Then he sees that she had a white surrender flag. "She collapsed with a flag in her hand. A flag white as snow."
    That is what really bringz him to his conlusion. On the last chorus his view of this whole idea of war and invading other countries is changed.
    "A hero of war.
    Is that what they see?
    Just medals and scars.
    So dear proud of me.
    Then I brought home that flag.
    Now it gathers dust.
    But it's a flag that I love, it's the only thing I trust."
    -After mabye a year or so of being this Hero of War, he realizes that yeah, he wins medal, he is looked at as a hero, but eventually those medals gather dust and all that's left are the scars and memories. So sure, you get to represent America and win medals, but in the long run, what is the real benefit?
    That is my opinion on what he was trying to say. but that's just me. Keep rockin, Rise Against! xDDD

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