The lyrics are:
When I was just a young boy, I played with swords and guns, and I dreamed of the day I’d become a soldier.
And kill all of the enemy, my country ’tis of thee.
I sing this anthem sadly, won’t you hear me.
I watched the cannons blazing, on the giant silver screen.
The swastikas were burning and the hero was me.
The general gave the order, gladly I obeyed.
But the movie faded quickly all at once today.
And now I stand alone with the charges made, nowhere to run, not a place to hide.
We’re sad little children playing grown-up games.
Guess the time has come, the damage has been done.
Stray dogs that live on the highway, walk on three legs.
Cause they learn too slow to get the message.
Just like the Indians in the early days.
Battles lost and won, yet it still goes on.
It’s just another ballad for a soldier.
I had no understanding ’till I saw my mother cry, when they told how many babies I had killed that night.
A dozen color photographs inside of a magazine, told the morbid story like a movie screen.
But I was not the hero I thought myself to be, movies are much different from reality.
The general was convicted to get off of the hook, but the President might free me for the chance I took.
And we all stand alone when the charge is made, sad way to live, what a way to die.
We’re all little children playing grown-up games, can we burn the gun before the next time comes.
Stray dogs that live on the highway walk on three legs, they move too slow to get the message.
Give up and win, that’s all I have to say, we haven’t really won till all the fightin’ done, and there are no more ballads for the soldiers.
From Leon Russell’s site:
Nov. 13, 2016
Leon Russell died on Nov. 13, 2016 in Nashville at the age of 74. His wife said that he passed away in his sleep
The Master Of Space And Time was a legendary musician and songwriter originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma who performed his gospel-infused southern boogie piano rock, blues, and country music for over 50 years.
Leon led the famous Joe Cocker’s ‘Mad Dogs & Englishmen’ tour and performed with George Harrison and Friends at the Concert For Bangladesh. Leon has also toured with Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, Edgar Winter, The New Grass Revival, Willie Nelson, and Sir Elton John.
Leon’s songwriting credits include ‘A Song For You’, ‘Delta Lady’, ‘Hummingbird’, ‘Lady Blue’, ‘Back To The Island’, ‘Tight Rope’, and ‘This Masquerade’.