Ballad of Ira Hayes

A                    D
Ira Hayes,          Ira Hayes.
A                                            D
Call him drunken Ira Hayes, he won’t answer anymore;
E                                                   A
not the whiskey drinkin’ Indian, nor the marine that went to war.


A                                                           D
Gather ’round me, people. There’s a story I would tell
E                                              A
’bout a brave young Indian you should remember well,
D
from the land of the Pima Indians,       a proud and nobel band,
E                                                   A
who farmed the Phoenix Valley in Arizona land.


A                                                                     D
Down their ditches a thousand years, the waters grew Ira’s people’s crops
E                                                                  A
till the white man stole their water rights and the sparklin’ water stopped.
D
Now, Ira’s folks were hungry and their land grew crops of weeds.
E                                                          A
When the war came, Ira volunteered and forgot the white man’s greed.


A                                            D
Call him drunken Ira Hayes, he won’t answer anymore;
E                                                   A
not the whiskey drinkin’ Indian, nor the marine that went to war.


A                                     D
There they battled up Iwo Jima Hill;     250 men,
E                                    A
but only 27 lived to walk back down again.
D
And when the fight was over, and Old Glory raised,
E                                                                A
among the men who held it high was the Indian, Ira Hayes.


A                                            D
Call him drunken Ira Hayes, he won’t answer anymore;
E                                                   A
not the whiskey drinkin’ Indian, nor the marine that went to war.


A                                  D
Ira Hayes returned a hero, celebrated through the land.
E                                                       A
He was wined and speeched and honored, ev’rybody shook his hand.
D
But he was just a Pima Indian; no water, no home, no chance.
E
At home nobody cared what Ira had done.
A
And when do the Indians dance?


A                                            D
Call him drunken Ira Hayes, he won’t answer anymore;
E                                                   A
not the whiskey drinkin’ Indian, nor the marine that went to war.


A                                  D
Then Ira started drinkin’ hard;      jail was often his home.
E                                                         A
They let him raise the flag and lower it like you’d throw a dog a bone.
D
He died drunk early one morning,    alone in the land he fought to save.
E                                                                            A
Two inches of water in a lonely ditch was a grave for Ira Hayes.


A                                            D
Call him drunken Ira Hayes, he won’t answer anymore;
E                                                   A
not the whiskey drinkin’ Indian, nor the marine that went to war.


A                           D
Yeah, call him drunken Ira Hayes,     but his land is just as dry,
E                                                A
and his ghost is lyin’ thirsty        in the ditch were Ira died.

 

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