Gordon Thomas Ward

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Welcome to the Past

For Emily

Talent

Gordon Thomas Ward on lead and harmony vocals, 6-string grand concert guitar, 6-string jumbo guitar, and 12-string jumbo guitar. Keith Goellner plays the snare drum, and Maggie Fischer added the whisper on the last chorus.

Background & Inspiration  

I was playing variations of G and C chords…just strumming, really…and I got this idea about telling the story of a girl who grows up to become a soldier. Women in the military aren’t really the subject of many songs, which made the topic even more appealing to me. I found the sound effect of the drill sergeant and thought it would make a good introduction, but I still wanted more of a military feel and decided a snare drum would do the trick. My friend Keith was gracious enough to lend his drumming talents to this track, but, while this song goes out to all our soldiers, this song about Emily called out for a woman’s touch. Maggie’s whisper made it perfect and all the more poignant. Some people have asked me if Emily is a real person. She’s actually bits and pieces of a few people I know. I didn’t grow up knowing one girl named Emily, but her persona can be found in the face of every woman in the armed forces.

Lyrics

I grew up near a little girl,

All gingham, bows, and ringlet curls

We’d exchange quick glances on the bus to school.

I asked. She answered timidly

And said her name was Emily.

She was nothing more to me than scenery.

In my child’s eye, what more could she mean to me?

 

School over, time to move away

On high school graduation day,

Assured our paths would never cross again.

So I put her memories on a shelf.

By tomorrow she was someone else.

I did not see the seed of something more

Beneath the naive shroud of youth’s décor.

 

Until the day I saw the paper’s front page photo news,

A local soldier bound for overseas.

That girl I knew glanced at me now with courage in her eyes,

Prepared to serve and fight for liberty.

 

(Chorus) I’ll wave a flag for Emily.

She serves so many miles from me

In harm’s way so that others can live free.

Standing proud for freedom’s cause

In a place she’s never seen before.

She’ll go wherever there may be a need.

But at night she whispers, “Dear God, please…

just get me home to see my family.”

 

The valor found in lonely eyes,

The pain they hear in comrades’ cries,

Liberation springs from sacrifice.

From where do roots of soldiers rise?

From neighborhoods like yours and mine.

Like us they’re husbands, daughters, sons, and wives.

And every single soldier pays a price.

 

The yearning for a spouse’s arms, a loving child’s embrace,

A baby’s cry whose birth they could not see.

For some the best gift in the world is the sight of their front door,

While others go home to eternity.

 

(Chorus)

 

Yes, I’ll wave a flag for Emily.

She serves so many miles from me

In harm’s way so that others can live free.

Standing proud for freedom’s cause

In a place she’s never seen before.

She’ll go wherever there may be a need.

But at night she whispers, “Dear God, please…

Dear God, please…

just get me home to see my family.

Get me home to see my family.”