Saturday, July 30, 2011

For a Song: Veracruz

Warren Zevon: Veracruz


I could tell you all about the occupation of Vera Cruz, how the refusal of a Mexican commander to offer a 21 gun salute to an American naval commander led to a six-month American occupation of the city, how the attempt by Woodrow Wilson to intercept an arms shipment from Germany failed, and the shipment only wound up being diverted to a different port. I could hold all of this up as an example of the follies that led to World War I. But what interests Warren Zevon and his co-writer Jorge Calderon is the human cost of war. And so, the song is the words of one man to his wife or lover, a loving probable farewell from a man who feels honor bound to fight in a losing cause. Inevitably, when the forces of one nation invade another, it is the civilians of the native country who suffer the most. So it was in Veracruz, and Zevon and Calderon make this point brilliantly by making it personal.


maine character said...

Thanks for the history on this.

Right after I discovered this album back in high school, I got the flu. I remember lying in bed with a fever, with this song playing continuously through my head. So much so that I couldn't listen to it for months after.

But what a haunting song, and now with the web I can discover what the Spanish means as well.