Bruce Springsteen's Song Born In The USA

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Bruce Springsteen’s classic 1984 song “Born in the U.S.A” is one that many Americans sing on patriotic holidays such as Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. With the song’s fast, upbeat rhythm, red-white-and-blue-themed album cover, and repetition of the chant “Born in the U.S.A,” the song can be portrayed as a tune that creates and supports American pride and patriotism. Behind the guitars and synthesizers, however, “Born in the U.S.A.” is a slightly upsetting explanation of how Vietnam veterans were treated upon their return home to America after the Vietnam War. Springsteen himself was drafted to fight in the Vietnam War, but never enlisted due to his 4-F status, a classification given to military members who are unfit for combat due to…show more content…
The speaker has difficulty when seeking employment in his hometown; “Come back home to the refinery / Hiring man says ‘Son, if it was up to me’ / Went down to see my V.A. man / He said ‘Son, don 't you understand.’” (Springsteen). After returning home, the speaker struggles to find gainful employment. Veterans face some major issues, and often struggle to find work, so they must file for unemployment or disability through the Veterans Affairs. Many of those who applied for both unemployment and disability were rejected because post-traumatic stress disorder was not yet recognized as a medical disorder. The speaker realizes he is being declined employment possibly due to his time in war when the employer says, “Son, don’t you understand” (Springsteen). The speaker doesn’t understand why he is being treated so poorly considering he is returning from fighting for their country. In addition to losing a lot back home, such as a job, a home, and many other possibilities, the speaker also loses a friend and a brother overseas; “I had a brother at Khe Sanh fighting off the Viet Cong / They 're still there, he 's all gone” (Springsteen). Khe Sanh was one of the largest battles in Vietnam; during the span of seventy-seven days, over ten thousand communist forces and around five hundred U.S. Marines were killed in action (History.com Staff). The number of U.S. deaths due to this…show more content…
Throughout the song, the speaker is aware of the awful treatment towards himself and other Vietnam veterans as a whole, but he does not inform the reader exactly why they are treated so poorly. Through the catchy synthesizer hook and anthem-like chorus, Springsteen was able to package weighty social commentary in a product that would easily connect with the general
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