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Johnny Cash
 You're here » Music Lyrics Index » C » Johnny Cash » Greatest Hits, Vol 1 » The Ballad of Ira Hayes Lyrics

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Johnny Cash
Album: Greatest Hits, Vol 1
Track: The Ballad of Ira Hayes

The Ballad of Ira Hayes Lyrics

(Peter La Farge)
© '63 Edward B Marks Music, BMI

Ira Hayes Ira Hayes call him drunken Ira Hayes he won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinking Indian nor the marine that went to war

Gather round me people there's a story I would tell
Bout a brave young Indian you should remember well
From the land of the Pima Indians a proud and noble band
Who farmed the Phoenix Valley in Arizona land
Down their ditches for a thousand years the waters grew Ira's people's crops
Till the white man stole their water right and their sparkling water stopped
Now Ira's folks grew hungry and their land grew crops and weeds
When war came Ira volunteered and forgot the white man's greed

Call him drunken Ira Hayes...

Well they battled up Iwo Jima Hill two hundred and fifty men
But only 27 lived to walk back down again
And when the fight was over and old glory raised
Among the men who helt it high was the Indian Ira Hayes

Call him drunken Ira Hayes...

Ira Hayes 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 home no chance
At home nobody cared what Ira's done and when do the Indians dance

Call him drunken Ira Hayes...

Then Ira started drinking hard jail was often his home
They let him raise the flag and lower it like you would throw a dog a bone
He died drunk early one morning alone in the land he'd fought to save
Two inches of water in a lonely ditch was the grave for Ira Hayes

Call him drunken Ira Hayes...
Yeah call him drunken Ira Hayes but his land is just as dry
And his ghost is laying thirsty in the ditch where Ira died

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