*Johnstown Tribune-Democrat 12/3/2006
Copyright © 2007 by Ralph Couey
Written content only
As we go through our lives, we hear a lot of songs. But every once in a while, we happen across one that strikes a chord deep inside. That happened last week when I heard for the first time an Australian country singer named Beccy Cole.
She apparently is popular in the land of Oz, or was until last year when she made a Christmas visit to Aussie troops stationed in Iraq. Some of her fans were outraged by this act, equating the visit as an endorsement of the war itself.There were even a couple of public events where her CDs and posters were burned.
One can imagine, knowing the fragile egos and insecurities of most performers, what her response could have been, ranging from public anger to abject apology – anything but firmly standing her ground.That certainly is what we’ve come to expect from her American counterparts.
But instead of a public rant, Cole’s response was measured, mature and adult. She wrote a song called “Poster Girl.” Its heartfelt lyrics express a certain sadness about the divide between her and some of her fans. But they also firmly state her belief that regardless of a person’s stance on war, supporting the troops is the right thing to do.
Cole would much rather be a poster girl for troops fighting for freedom than for the self-indulgent and self-absorbed back home.
There’s something else that’s remarkable about this song. Her experience with the troops – the Aussies call them “diggers” – left her with a strong sense of pride in her country and people. She’s proud to be Australian; she says that three times in the song. What I found remarkable was that it was hard to remember the last time any American entertainer boldly stated that in any form. Perhaps the last one was Lee Greenwood’s Gulf War anthem “God Bless the U.S.A.”
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of pro-troop songs out there. But apparently almost nobody here is willing, like Beccy Cole, to say out loud, “I’m proud to be an American.”
Cole did not take a stance on whether the war in Iraq was right or wrong. She states that, as a singer, she’s certainly in no position to judge anyone else. But she makes it clear that where the troops are concerned, she has made her choice and will proudly stand her ground, even if it costs her some fans back home.
It’s a gutsy call, given that she has to make her living from those fans.
This link will take you to the video on Cole’s Web site: http://www.beccycole.com/albums/videos/poster_girl.shtml
It’s an important song at a critical time, and even if you have a rabid, virulent hatred of President Bush and a complete aversion to war, you need to see this.
It’s perspective; it’s respect; it’s honor.
Because Cole put her convictions before her livelihood and honored the troops before her own fame, it’s also an act of heartfelt courage.