George A. Johnson was the Great Uncle of Patterson Hood, guitarist and singer for the Drive-By Truckers. He passed away in October, but his memory will always live on in the lyrics of the great song that Patterson wrote about him - "The Sands of Iwo Jima."
George A. was at the movies in December '41
They announced it in the lobby what had just gone on
He drove up from Birmingham back to the family's farm
Thought he'd get him a deferment there's was much work to be done
He was a family man, even in those days
But Uncle Sam decided he was needed anyway
In the South Pacific over half a world away
He believed in God and Country, things was just that way
Just that way…..
When I was just a kid I spent every weekend
On the farm that he grew up on so I guess so did I
And we'd stay up watching movies on the black and white TV
We watched "The Sands of Iwo Jima" starring John Wayne
Every year in June George A. goes to a reunion
Of the men that he served with and their wives and kids and grandkids
My Great Uncle used to take me and I'd watch them recollect
about some things I couldn't comprehend
And I thought about that movie, asked if it was that way
He just shook his head and smiled at me in such a loving way
As he thought about some friends he will never see again
He said "I never saw John Wayne on the sands of Iwo Jima"
Most of those men are gone now but he goes still every year
And George A's still doing fine, especially for his years
He's still living on that homestead in the house that he was born in
And I sure wish I could go see him today
He never drove a new car though he could easily afford it
He'd just buy one for the family and take whatever no one wanted
He said a shiny car didn't mean much after all the things he'd seen
George A. never saw John Wayne on the sands of Iwo Jima
Happy Veterans Day, everyone.