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America's History in the Making

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Lyrics to I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag

I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag

Come on all of you big strong men, Uncle Sam needs your help again
He's got himself in a terrible jam, way down yonder in Viet Nam
So put down your books and pick up a gun, we're gonna have a whole lotta fun

(CHORUS)
And it's one, two, three, what are we fighting for
Don't ask me I don't give a damn, next stop is Viet Nam
And it's five, six, seven, open up the pearly gates
Ain't no time to wonder why, whoopee we're all gonna die

Well come on generals, let's move fast, your big chance has come at last
Gotta go out and get those reds, the only good commie is the one that's dead
And you know that peace can only be won, when we've blown 'em all to kingdom come

(CHORUS)
And it's one, two, three, what are we fighting for
Don't ask me I don't give a damn, next stop is Viet Nam
And it's five, six, seven, open up the pearly gates
Ain't no time to wonder why, whoopee we're all gonna die

Come on Wall Street don't be slow, why man this war is a go-go
There's plenty good money to be made, by supplying the army with the tools of its trade
Just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb, they drop it on the Viet Cong

(CHORUS)
And it's one, two, three, what are we fighting for
Don't ask me I don't give a damn, next stop is Viet Nam
And it's five, six, seven, open up the pearly gates
Ain't no time to wonder why, whoopee we're all gonna die

Well come on mothers throughout the land, pack your boys off to Viet Nam
Come on fathers don't hesitate, send your sons off before it's too late
Be the first ones on your block, to have your boy come home in a box

CHORUS)
And it's one, two, three, what are we fighting for
Don't ask me I don't give a damn, next stop is Viet Nam
And it's five, six, seven, open up the pearly gates
Ain't no time to wonder why, whoopee we're all gonna die

Country Joe McDonald, "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag", words and music by Joe McDonald (c) 1965; renewed 1993 by Alkatraz Corner music Co, BMI.

Creator Country Joe McDonald and the Fish
Context The peak of the anti-Vietnam War movement in the mid-60s
Audience Antiwar sympathizers
Purpose To voice antiwar sentiment to the crowd and the rest of the nation

Historical Significance

The folk singer Country Joe McDonald's satirical song spoke as an anthem for a generation of many Americans who opposed the war in Vietnam and reflected McDonald's firsthand experience. McDonald wrote the song in 1965 after he returned from military service in Vietnam with the U.S. Navy. The song appealed to American youth, particularly those of draft age, and encouraged them to question U.S. involvement in the war. The song went further still by criticizing Wall Street's efforts to make profit from the war.

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