Erik Lunde releases the single “Steel Militia” on August 27th in the shadow of America’s disquieting exit from Afghanistan, 20 years after the events of 9/11 led to “America’s Longest War.” As a self-described “Tolstoyan Christian Pacifist” who tries to live by the principles of non-violence laid out in the “Sermon On The Mount,” Lunde wrote the lyrics to “Steel Militia”’ from his despair over the tragic American military response to 9/11 after reading the devastating true story of the Wise Brothers in a Washington Post article entitled “One Family, Two Sacrifices.”
The article told the story of the passions and motivations of two patriotic brothers from Arkansas who both enlisted and were killed in the war in Afghanistan. Written in the narrative storytelling vein of classic American folk songs like Bob Dylan’s “Masters Of War” and Pete Seeger’s “Waist Deep in The Big Muddy,” the song serves as a powerful, anti-war protest song that is dedicated to the memory and sacrifice of the over 2,300 American soldiers that tragically died in Afghanistan.
As the final American forces leave the country to meet the September 11th withdrawal deadline, “Steel Militia” wrestles with the extreme religious fundamentalism that led to 9/11 and sparked the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. While the lyric critiques the dark ideological forces and politics that started the wars, it also empathizes with the passionate devotion to God and country that burns in the hearts of young soldiers who enlist to fight in foreign wars – pondering the sense of futility and hopelessness that some surviving veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have experienced.
As a songwriter dedicated to peace and reconciliation, Lunde wants it to be clear that the song is not an “anti-soldier” song – but is an anti-war song about the “wages of death” in wars that arise from extreme religious fundamentalism. Having performed “Steel Militia” at a Wounded Warriors retreat and seen the emotion that it provoked in Afghanistan veterans, Lunde hopes that by releasing this song into the world he can help raise awareness of the important work that the Wounded Warriors Foundation does for America’s soldiers. “This is why I support the important work of the Wounded Warriors Foundation – and hope to use this song to raise awareness of their work with our wounded veterans,” says Lunde.
“As a Christian pacifist who tries to live by the principles of non-violence, I wrote this song because I was deeply anguished by the events of 9/11, our subsequent invasion of Iraq, and the seemingly futile outcome of the occupation of Afghanistan.” -Erik Lunde