This song was originally written as a memorial anthem about lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong's father, a jazz musician and minor league baseball catcher, who died of lung cancer when Billie Joe was only ten years old. The song -- as all great songs are -- are written with many interpretations. The song has expanded its meaning beyond the death of Billie Joe's father to represent feelings about the war in Iraq (which is what the video seems to show), as an anthem for Katrina victims and as an ode to those who lost their lives in the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Actually, now that we are in the month of September, I would like to pass along an interesting historical fact that was brought to my attention several years ago: many wars and conflicts start in September. The reason being, I was informed, was that September was the month when crops were starting to ripen and become ready to harvest. Therefore, if one tribe wanted to wipe out a rival tribe -- or simply steal their food -- the time to bring an attack would be September.
So, I think a lot of Americans feel this song speaks to them at this time in our history. They would just assume that September pass by as quickly as possible.
I will probably come back to Green Day's music at a later time, but I think this song needs to stand on its own.