The Lady Speaks

In Remembrance

Update: (6/20/06) Wow! I’ve found the secret to getting lots of blog hits: Post the lyrics to a Big & Rich song!! LOL

I hope those of you who’ve found your way here for the first time will to check out some of my other posts and visit the great folks on the blogroll. Also, take a look around Bloggers Against Torture and learn about Torture Awareness Month.

— Jenn


I’m not a big country music fan. There are certain songs that have special meaning to me, and certain artists and bands I like listening to, but for the most part I prefer listening to something else – anything else.

Today, I was riding with my sister and listening to her favorite country music station. I started paying attention when I heard Kris Kristofferson speak. Listening to this song for the first time, I was overcome with tears, and reminded once again of the heroes who do what is asked of them without question, for honor and country.


8th of November – Big & Rich

Hello, I’m Kris Kristofferson.
On November 8th, 1965, the 173rd Airborne Brigade on Operation Hump, War Zone D in Vietnam, were ambushed by over 1200 V.C. Forty-eight American soldiers lost their lives that day. Severely wounded, and riskin’ his own life, Lawrence Joel, a medic, was the first livin’ black man since the Spanish-American War to receive the United States Medal of Honor for savin’ so many lives in the midst of battle that day. Our friend, Nialls Harris, retired 25 years, United States Army, the guy who gave Big Kenny his top hat, was one of the wounded who lived: This song is his story. Caught in the action of kill or be killed, greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for a friend.

Said goodbye to his Momma as he left South Dakota,
To fight for the Red, White and Blue.
He was nineteen and green with a new M-16,
Just doing what he had to do.
He was dropped in the jungle where the choppers would rumble,
With the smell of Napalm in the air.
Then the sergeant said: “Look up ahead.”
Like a dark evil cloud, 1,200 came down on him and 29 more.
They fought for their lives but most of them died in the 173rd Airborne.

On the 8th of November, the angels were crying,
As they carried his brothers away.
With the fire rainin’ down and the hell all around,
There were few men left standin’ that day.
Saw the eagle fly through a clear blue sky.
1965, the 8th of November.

Now he’s 58 and his pony tail’s gray,
But the battle still plays in his head.
He limps when he walks but he’s strong when he talks.
‘Bout the Shrapnel they left in his leg.
He puts on a gray suit over his Airborne tattoo.
And he ties it on one time a year,
And remembers that fallen as he orders a tall one,
And swallows it down with his tears.

On the 8th of November, the angels were crying,
As they carried his brothers away.
With the fire rainin’ down and the hell all around,
There were few men left standin’ that day.
Saw the eagle fly through a clear blue sky.
1965, the 8th of November.

Saw the eagle fly through a clear blue sky.
1965. (1965.)

On the 8th of November, the angels were crying,
As they carried his brothers away.
With the fire rainin’ down and the hell all around,
There were few men left standin’ that day.

On the 8th of November, the angels were crying,
As they carried his brothers away.
With the fire rainin’ down and the hell all around,
There were few men left standin’ that day.
Saw the eagle fly through a clear blue sky.
1965, the 8th of November.
8th of November. (8th of November.)

Said goodbye to his Momma as he left South Dakota,
To fight for the Red, White and Blue.
He was nineteen and green with a new M-16,
Just doing what he had to do.


May 26, 2006 - Posted by | Memorial Day, Music, US Military, Veterans, War


  1. I saw this video on CMT and googled the title to learn more about this date in history. I coulnd not hold back the tears, I’m so greatful for the men and women who fight to keep us free and safe. God bless them and their families and God bless the USA!

    Comment by Natasha | June 26, 2006 | Reply

  2. I don’t have cable so I haven’t seen the video, but I’m told it’s absolutely incredible. There’s also a documentary, I believe by the same name.

    I’m grateful for and proud of all our service members. If only we had a President who cared enough to do what’s right by them!

    Comment by PA_Lady | June 26, 2006 | Reply

  3. I watched the video and the documentary on CMT and it was truely amazing. I was nearly brought to tears from watching both. If i recall they actually went back to vietnam and buried his combat boots at the battle site. Its an extraordinary story that everybody should watch and be proud to be an american and in one way or another related to these men, the men who have fought for our freedom, and those currently fighting to protect us.

    Comment by Your damn right im a proud American | July 6, 2006 | Reply

  4. Thanks for writing about this, I caught the end of a musicmatch on this song and have not heard it yet. I was in vietnam in 1971. Recently separated from a 24yr marriage. Son 22, two daughters 18 and 15, living in southern PA, so we have some things in common. Would love to hear your opinions. Roy

    Comment by Roy | July 12, 2006 | Reply

  5. Roy: My thanks and deepest gratitude for your service. In one of my other Memorial Day posts, I mention that my uncle served in the USN, 1964-67, and spent 18 months MIA.

    As for my opinions…well, most of them are written on this blog somewhere or other. 🙂

    Comment by PA_Lady | July 12, 2006 | Reply

    Heres a link to the fellow that the song was inspired by

    Comment by Justin | July 19, 2006 | Reply

  7. Loved the Big and Rich song Nov. 8. Our former neighbor, Danny Ward was included. Thanks, Thanks,Thanks!

    Comment by Penny Kirk | July 20, 2006 | Reply

    • Yes, Danny’s picture is shown at the beginning of the video just before the song starts – RIP Danny Ward.

      Comment by William Osendott | August 20, 2009 | Reply

  8. Here’s a link to the Medal of Honor citation.

    Comment by Martin | July 24, 2006 | Reply

  9. Hello,
    Just saw video about guy from S.D. going back to Viet Nam to bury his boots.[I have my last pair] Great story. I worked in the Graves Registration [morg.] at the other end of the country near the DMZ. If you have the guys email address I would greatly appreciate haveing the chance to personly say thanks for the sacrfices he made for his country. Thanks for youe time…………………..later………………Greg

    Comment by Greg Seaman | July 27, 2006 | Reply

  10. I have been looking for the history of this song for a long time, every time I listen to this song it brings tears to my eyes. I would appreciate it if you have any more information about what happened on the 8th of November, 1965. I believe that the vietnam veterans did not receive the honor that they deserved. So many times we look for a scape goat for mistakes that the government has made, and so many times our soldiers take the brunt of their fellow Americans criticism. It’s not right.

    Thanks Big and Rich for making a tribute to these men who fought in the vietnam war.

    Comment by Ray | August 7, 2006 | Reply

  11. Wow!!! What a song. My husband and I come from a long line of military families. He was Army himself. Thank God for the men and women who have kept our country alive and free through all the years. What a fitting tribute to the soldiers who put their lives on the line daily and all those who are still MIA/POW. Lets honor them. Bring them home or send us back!!!

    Comment by Gina Byrd | August 7, 2006 | Reply

  12. Here is a link to the video that I got from the unit’s website for those of you that haven’t seen it. As a former military member myself, thanks to all of you that have served or that are still serving. Most of all, thanks to all of those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice or that are still missing. For the people that everyone seems to forget about, thanks to the dependents and family members for sacrifices that they make.

    Comment by mike | August 11, 2006 | Reply

  13. I work at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in North Carolina and cannot thank the the veterans enough for all that they have sacrificed and given all of us. God Bless all our veterans and God Bless the United States of America.

    Comment by Mary | August 14, 2006 | Reply

  14. IT is The Soldier!

    It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press.

    It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech.

    It is the soldier, not the organizer, Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

    It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag, And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.

    Thank you to all who have serverd!

    Comment by Brian Grinstead | August 17, 2006 | Reply

  15. We too thank all of our Veterans. Go to

    Comment by Dennis | August 24, 2006 | Reply

  16. I am coming to this forum as a proud member of a military family who has had a father-(Ret’d Lt.Col USAR MP now serving as a civilian ambassador to the USAR Commandant who also spent over 2 decades in civilian law enforcement both fedeal and local), grandfather, brothers, cousins and uncles serve in our armed forces in peacetime as well as in combat theaters spanning the Coral Sea (one of my father’s cousins KIA on the LEX),Viet Nam (My father’s oldest brother who was in the 82nd and proudly retired as a full bird from the Corp Of Engineers), the Balkans (my 2 youngest brothers- one now back in civilian life, the other having just been Promoted to Major and taken command of the Army EOD operations in the Pacific) to Iraq where the Ret’d Full Bird’s son is serving at this time.

    I myself was unable to serve due to medical reasons but have done my best to serve my fellow citizens here on the civilian front for the last 30 years as an EMS provider.

    As we approach the 5th anniversary of the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks I hope we will remember all those who have given the final full measure of themselves in our defense; both on the field of battle in foreign lands and those who have served in the civilian sector as members of the EMS, Fire, and Law Enforcement communities.

    I can only try to imagine what those who have lost their fellow soldiers on the field of battle have to deal with by remembering what it felt like to lose a fellow EMS provider who died while on duty.

    I also remember what it felt like to be on duty the morning of 9-11-2001 and watching the events unfold as the day went on while not being able to do anything to assist in the efforts to rescue those trapped in the wreckage.

    Please take the time to thank those who serve and to also thank their families and employers for supporting them as it is also their sacrificing the time away from their families and jobs that allows them to be available to come to our aid and defense in our times of greatest need.


    Mike Kavanaugh, Jr. EMT-Intermediate (Virginia)

    Comment by Michael Kavanaugh Jr EMT-I | September 7, 2006 | Reply

  17. Mike: As the ex-wife of a 25-year volunteer firefighter and EMT, and the mom of 17-year-old junior volunteer, I can only say: “Amen.”

    Your service, as well as that of the countless millions of firefighters, EMTs, and police officers, is much appreciated. Thank you for doing what you do, and for being there whenever we call.


    Comment by PA_Lady | September 8, 2006 | Reply

  18. Sept.13,2006

    Again while watching Big & Rich’s video, I was brought to tears. When I think of what those men and their families left behind went through and are still giong through I am deeply humbled. My father a retired Air Force Master Sgt. served 22 yrs and served in Vietnam. During his tour he was required to go as a civilian into Thailand (with no ID what so ever)to recover military equipment alone. That is all I know about his experience as he will not talk about it. He recieved the Bronze Star for that mission. Sadly, I never realized the significance of this honor until my husband saw Daddy’s medals and explained it to me,(My husband is active duty AGR in the Army Reserves). My father also received a purple heart among other honors. I remember as a young child going to the airport to tell Daddy goodbye as he went off to Vietnam. I am sure that he was forever changed by his service. He is very stoic and hides his emotions. He has my deepest respect and love for what he has done for love of this country. My husband and I have a 6 yr. old daughter that we adopted from China. We have tried to explain to her to be very grateful to all military members for the life that we have. We explain how very different it is in China. We pray together daily for our military members serving throughout the world and for their family members left behind. PLEASE, PLEASE educate your children that all that they do and have is because of our brave and selfless military. Have them watch Big & Rich’s video. Tell them about Arrlington Cemetary. Teach them to love our country and to always support our military members!! I wish that all of our politicians would do the same, for our military members deserve nothing less!! Thank you for reading this and God Bless Americia and our military!!!

    Rosemary S. Beaumont, MS

    Comment by Rosemary Sotile | September 13, 2006 | Reply

  19. this song is so touching to me even tho im only thirteen years old and i am doing a homework assignment about this song… im making a music video on this sing

    Comment by taylor | September 15, 2006 | Reply

  20. i am proud to be from a country like this. i am proud to be a country fan. i am proud of every man and woman in the united states armed forces and those of us here at home. soldiers: you’re in my prayers. families: you’re in my prayers. america: you’re in my prayers.

    Comment by proud to be an american country girl | May 14, 2007 | Reply

  21. SPC6 Lawrence Joel
    Rank and organization: Specialist Sixth Class (then Sp5c), U.S. Army, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade

    Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 8 November 1965

    SPC6 Lawrence Joel
    Rank and organization: Specialist Sixth Class (then Sp5c), U.S. Army, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade

    Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 8 November 1965

    Thanks Kris K. and Big and Rich for reminding us about Heroes who should not be forgotten

    Suport Our Troops Always
    9/11/2001 N.F. N.F.

    Comment by Jeff Duffy | July 10, 2007 | Reply

  22. Jeff: Thanks for the correction on SPC Joel’s name. I’ve edited it above.

    Comment by PA_Lady | July 12, 2007 | Reply

  23. This country is the greatest country on earth, I am truly proud to be an American. I served this country long ago like so many others. I was spit on in an airport for something I never did. I pray to God our men and women never get that kind of disrespect. That was over 35 years ago and I remember his face to this day…and his face as he was falling unconscious against a wall.

    “All gave some, but some gave ALL”. I look at my medals and ribbons and they pale in contrast. I get a small pension from the VA each month – while others never lived to see theirs. I watched my children grow into adults, many of them never got to experience that wonderful time.

    I am humbled and my heart leaps with pride because of their sacrifice, their bravery and courage.

    God Bless the United States of America. God Bless our troops.

    Comment by James Speed | November 1, 2007 | Reply

  24. I really do not think you receive the hits to your site just because someone wants the lyrics to a song. I would hope and pray a majority of your hits come from American Citizens interested in the story of the 173rd airborne!!
    You should think about that fact for a moment.
    That is the only reason I was here.
    Proud to be an American!!!!
    Thank you to any and all who served!!

    Comment by Amy | January 17, 2008 | Reply

  25. Well, you can hope and pray, but the truth of the search engine results is: #1 – “Big and Rich 8th of November” (349) or #2 “8th of November” (281). In the 18/19 months since this was posted, only 73 of the 971 hits came from a search for “173rd Airborne.”

    I tend to think a majority of our citizens wouldn’t know the 173rd from a hole in the ground, nor would they care what happened on Nov. 8, 1965, but for the popularity of this song.

    As to the story of the 173rd, you aren’t finding much of it here, are you? No. Just the story of one battle and the actions of a single heroic man who risked life and limb to save his buddies. Spc. Lawrence Joel was one of 13 men in the 173rd to receive the Medal of Honor during Vietnam.

    For the real story of the 173rd Airborne and to learn about more heroes, please go to:, Wikipedia,, or the 173rd’s Battalion History.

    Comment by PA_Lady | January 18, 2008 | Reply

  26. I was a member of “C” Company 1/503rd Infantry 173RD ABN (May 1965-May 1966) and served with CMH receipiant Lawrence Joel.
    “Doc” Joel had me medi-vacd out with Malaria a few days before the November 8th Hill 65 battle. One of my best friends ever Cordell Spencer took a 50 caliber round running point in my place. No greater gift can one give than to lay down his life for his brother.
    God’s mercy is great !

    Comment by Charles C. Curtis | February 15, 2008 | Reply

  27. This will sounds strange to who ever reads this so bare with me. I have my whole life been taken with the military. As a young boy I played war all the time. As I was playing war I would get this strange feeling in my gut that it was more than play. My Father thought it strange that I would play war yet be scard to death of fireworks. I was born at 1:22 pm November 9th 1965. I know this sounds crazy, but when found the big and rich song I felt feelings I have not had before.

    Comment by Chuck R | April 25, 2008 | Reply

  28. Charles: Thank you for sharing your story with us, and for your service.

    Chuck: Over my years on this earth, I’ve learned one thing: Absolutely anything is possible.

    As Shakespeare wrote centuries ago, “There is more to heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

    Comment by PA_Lady | April 26, 2008 | Reply

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