The “Caisson Song” was supposedly written in 1908, although the lyrics we all know come from 1918. That makes sense given that I always thought the song was from World War I. The truth is that I’ve never known what a caisson is. I just looked it up. It’s “a chest or wagon for holding or conveying ammunition.”
The song itself reminds me of myself playing with army men when I was a little boy. It’s such a sanitized vision of war. And it makes me wonder about having children sing it in school. It comes back to that usual notion that kids must be protected from sex, but war is just fine, even though sex is part of all lives and war is not.
I wish I could find some great version of the song. This is about as good as it gets. It is by Robert Weede created as part of the war effort during World War II.