Friday, 2 December 2011

Wootton Bassett Rocks! - Wake Me Up When September Ends

Wootton Bassett Rocks!' Wake Me Up When September Ends is everything good you could hope for in tackling what is an increasingly desperate situation for many families across the UK.

Regardless of whether you support the wars British troops have been sent into in recent years (and this is not the place to start that kind of debate!), most people have at least some level of support for the families of those killed and wounded in combat.

Wake Me Up When September Ends is Wootton Bassett Rocks!' newly released single in aid of four charities. You can watch it below, download using the iTunes buttons, and learn more about the charities by clicking 'Read more'.

Supported Charities

Nobody involved in the production of Wake Me Up When September Ends was paid for their involvement - instead, the proceeds are being split evenly between four military charities.

SSAFA Forces Help offers financial help to military veterans and their families when they need it, as well as helping to arrange support and short breaks for military families with special needs - whether due to war wounds, or because of children's additional needs.

Combat Stress specialises in mental health services, with community outreach teams nationwide helping veterans to cope with the trauma of having witnessed wartime scenarios firsthand.

FAB (Family Activity Breaks) helps bereaved military families to move on, with challenging activity holidays staffed by trained bereavement counsellors.

Battle Back is the Royal British Legion's campaign and the name given to a state-of-the-art facility for injured, wounded or ill military personnel, intended to accelerate their social, physical and psychological recovery.

The Song

Wake Me Up When September Ends was originally released in 2005 by Green Day and has always been an anthemic reflection on modern warfare and the people left behind when military personnel are killed in action. Royal Wootton Bassett residents know this better than most, with the town serving as the location for military repatriations - the bringing home of the dead - during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars of the 2000s.

The Wootton Bassett Rocks! version of Wake Me Up When September Ends perfectly highlights the impact this has had on the community, with tuneful but raw vocals from a wide range of different singers - a lone young male at the beginning, joined by others as he marches through the town, and ultimately the juxtaposition of a small choir with the electric guitars you might recognise from the original Green Day single.

It's a heartfelt tribute to fallen heroes from those people who were there to see them return - and the video itself ends on a poignant note, as the lone marching man reaches a table of friends in a pub, and places the flower he has carried throughout the video in front of a single empty chair.

There's plenty to say about the song itself - as one YouTube commenter points out, the march begins beneath looming storm clouds, yet ends in bright sunshine, an impossible-to-stage contribution to the overall effect, while the one-shot staging of the video shoot again highlights the enthusiasm which went into its production.

Ultimately, though, it's impossible to explain the emotions that lead an entire community to come together in a production like this, or the impact the charity donations could have for families dealing with bereavement or serious injury. Please watch the video and, even if you don't buy the track, pay attention to the different ways you can donate - you'll find them on your screen in the last minute or so of the YouTube clip above.

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