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Keep On

Sam Craig, United States Navy

Music has always been a therapeutic companion that has seen me through life’s highs and lows: A friend to celebrate achievements and express joyous exuberance, as well as a sympathetic ear through setbacks; and the true trials and tribulations that all of us face eventually. Although learning lessons the hard way has always been my subconsciously prescribed method of unofficial education, failure is the best teacher and artist of personal development.

In any branch of the military, the running mantra, among others, is that anything unpleasant is the fodder from which we “build character.” In the moment, this is a joke. It means as much to each of us as “Hydrate!”, “Change your socks”, or “Embrace the suck!” However, in retrospect, the concept of facing a struggle, accepting the hardship, carrying the burden while still pushing forward, and coming out of the proverbial fire and shedding the burdensome situation is something to celebrate and can only appreciated after the fact.

I’ve taken several years to write this song because I believe that I had to make it through so many setbacks, failures, personal disappointments and reach the ground past it to really appreciate not only the process; but understand how these experiences have shaped me as a person. I originally wrote a version of the chorus six months before I was medically separated. Luckily it was “catchy” and stayed in the back of my mind and was tossed around and shaped a little more each time I sat down with my guitar and played it to myself. At the time I was facing an upheaval of my career and an unclear road which I was about to start down. At the same time, I was coming to terms with a failed marriage and rectifying personal failures in my own state of mind. Through writing this song, I found ways to keep reminding myself to appreciate where I’ve been, be proud of the good things I’d done, forgive myself for moments of weakness, and above all – keeping on through anything that comes at me.

My biggest problem with writing a song this close to my heart and that touches on major aspects of the human condition that we all are quite familiar with, is to say what it means to reflect on struggling without falling down the slippery slope of being “cheesy” or overly cliché in the words. I hope that I’ve achieved this objective in a way that is meaningful and entertaining.

Keep On

I’m going through hell, don’t know if you can tell
But I smile, shuffle along, feet don’t fail me now come on
Pull myself up and
Keep on keepin’ on

I’m scared to death, I’ll admit
I’ve done some wrong, but I have no regrets
I’m standing tall, and I’m standing strong
Waiting for tomorrow, but it’s taking so long

And I know, there’s more to life than this
And it’s sealed up with a kiss
hanging on white knuckled grip
Keep your footing, don’t slip

Give me hope, give me faith
Make me believe it’ll be okay
give me strength, give me freedom
All my blessings, make sure I can see them

I’m stuck here between heaven and hell
In the middle, worth the trouble, I can never tell
I’ve felt love, I’ve seen hate
Built some bridges just to decimate
Changed directions with the same fate

Here I sit with memories to forget
Been to places I don’t regret
I’m stuck between heaven and hell
In the middle, worth the trouble, I can never tell
Storms have come and gone
Fought the battles, let bygones be forgone

Sam Craig
Samuel Craig served in the United States Navy from 2006-2010. He was stationed aboard the USS Bataan (LHD-5) out of Norfolk, VA. He was a Machinist Mate Third Class Petty Officer (MM3) who worked in the “Assault Shop” as a Hydraulics Tech, operating and maintaining steam turbines and reduction gears used for ship propulsion and auxiliary machinery. Samuel was part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

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