by Gregg Chadwick
Bruce Springsteen's performance last night at The Concert for Valor was passionate, a bit gritty, and dialed in to the characters in his songs. The words of Promised Land, Born In the USA, and surprisingly for me Dancing In the Dark cut like a knife through the hushed crowd. Springsteen seemed to embody the underlying pain of the returning warrior and the scourge of PTSD. Springsteen stood bare on the stage with just a guitar for a compelling reason. Like a soldier returning from war and moving on without a platoon and moving on without a weapon always at hand, Springsteen courageously stood alone. Through his lyrics, Springsteen gave truth to the fears that many carry home from war. Yes, you are alone now. Yes, your uniform is packed away and your weapons stowed. But, there is hope. I watched friends and family come home from Vietnam as changed men. I watched many stay in the military for years and then watched them put on their uniforms for the last time. And I watched them struggle to find meaning in life. Springsteen's songs on the Mall in DC last night, echoed that existential dread. And somehow as always, Springsteen helps us find hope in the darkness.