"The Ballad of Ira Hayes"

Ira Hayes,

Ira Hayes



Call him drunken Ira Hayes

He won't answer anymore

Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian

Nor the Marine that went to war



Gather round me people there's a story I would tell

About a brave young Indian you should remember well

From the land of the Pima Indian

A proud and noble band

Who farmed the Phoenix valley in Arizona land



Down the ditches for a thousand years

The water grew Ira's peoples' crops

'Till the white man stole the water rights

And the sparklin' water stopped



Now Ira's folks were hungry

And their land grew crops of weeds

When war came, Ira volunteered

And forgot the white man's greed



Call him drunken Ira Hayes

He won't answer anymore

Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian

Nor the Marine that went to war



There they battled up Iwo Jima's hill,

Two hundred and fifty men

But only twenty-seven lived to walk back down again



And when the fight was over

And when Old Glory raised

Among the men who held it high

Was the Indian, Ira Hayes



Call him drunken Ira Hayes

He won't answer anymore

Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian

Nor the Marine that went to war



Ira returned a hero

Celebrated through the land

He was wined and speeched and honored; Everybody shook his hand



But he was just a Pima Indian

No water, no crops, no chance

At home nobody cared what Ira'd done

And when did the Indians dance



Call him drunken Ira Hayes

He won't answer anymore

Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian

Nor the Marine that went to war



Then Ira started drinkin' hard;

Jail was often his home

They'd let him raise the flag and lower it

like you'd throw a dog a bone!



He died drunk one mornin'

Alone in the land he fought to save

Two inches of water in a lonely ditch

Was a grave for Ira Hayes



Call him drunken Ira Hayes

He won't answer anymore

Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian

Nor the Marine that went to war



Yeah, call him drunken Ira Hayes

But his land is just as dry

And his ghost is lyin' thirsty

In the ditch where Ira died

 
© 2017 Johnny Cash
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