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Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation

Words and Music by Tom Paxton

I got a letter from L. B. J.
It said this is your lucky day.
It's time to put your khaki trousers on.
Though it may seem very queer
We've got no jobs to give you here
So we are sending you to Viet Nam

Lyndon Johnson told the nation,
"Have no fear of escalation.
I am trying everyone to please.
Though it isn't really war,
We're sending fifty thousand more,
To help save Viet nam from Viet Namese."

I jumped off the old troop ship,
And sank in mud up to my hips.
I cussed until the captain called me down.
Never mind how hard it's raining,
Think of all the ground we're gaining,
Just don't take one step outside of town.


Every night the local gentry,
Sneak out past the sleeping sentry.
They go to join the old VC.
In their nightly little dramas,
They put on their black pajamas,
And come lobbing mortar shells at me.


We go round in helicopters,
Like a bunch of big grasshoppers,
Searching for the Viet Cong in vain.
They left a note that they had gone.
They had to get down to Saigon,
Their government positions to maintain.


Well here I sit in this rice paddy,
Wondering about Big Daddy,
And I know that Lyndon loves me so.
Yet how sadly I remember,
Way back yonder in November,
When he said I'd never have to go.


Apparently this song has metamorphosed over time. Here are some of the alternative lyrics.

I got a letter from L. B. J.
It said this is your lucky day.
Time to put your khaki trousers on.
We've got a job for you to do:
Dean Rusk has caught the Asian flu,
And we are sending you to Viet Nam.

We landed in some swampy hole,
We went out on a night patrol.
Just who was who was very hard to tell.
With Martha Raye and thirteen mayors,
Half of Congress and six ball players,
And Ronald Reagan yelling, "Give 'em hell!"

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