As America's attention turned to the anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor Friday, military officials, high school students and other experts talked about one of the country's unsung military heroes: Soulja Boy.
"He is probably the greatest American hero," said Travis DeYoung, a freshman at Central High School in Durham, N.C. "He has fought hard to crack the charts and has succeeded in liberating this country and the world."
Indeed, Soulja Boy has done his part to win the war, said music historian Irving L. Gifford of Central Michigan University. "'Crank That' has done wonders to soothe the nerves of all our allies and has managed to intimidate the axis," Gifford said.
"When Soulja Boy talks about 'crank that' he is referring to the way the allies cranked up and broke the axis powers," said military strategist Gen. Dorsey A. Conner of Fort A.P. Hill. "When he says 'damn that b---- is ugly,' he is obviously referring to Hitler."
Students across the country are aware of Soulja Boy and are trying to lead by his example.
Jackson Rogers, a student at FDR High School in White Plains, N.Y., said he was impressed that Soulja Boy was making it big not only in the military, but in the music industry. "He's out there laying it on the line for his freedom of expression and our individual freedom."
Junior Tiffany Allen agreed. "When Soulja says he's jocking on them haterz man, I think it makes me feel like living in America is worth all the sacrifices Soulja Boy has made."
Students at rival Booker T. Washington High found an FDR viewpoint they could agree on.
"When Soulja Boy talks about crankin' dat Robocop, I think I understand something about what it means to live in a free country," said Booker T. sophomore Rashad Meeks. "I mean, he's gonna crank this and crank that and cranking it every day. Now that's a fighter."
Meeks, however, admitted his knowledge of U.S. history is limited because, he said, history class is right before lunch. "I get so hungry when they're discussing that stuff I can't concentrate. I know there's a whole lot of other stuff they talk about but all I can tell you is I hope Soulja Boy receives that heart, you know the one that's like red or orange or purple."
Jenni Rains, a senior at Allen Archer Prep School in Denver, said she wasn't aware Soulja Boy was stationed at Pearl Harbor, but nonetheless appreciates the sacrifices he has made in defense of the country. "I really didn't know Pearl Harbor played a big role in our history," she said, and then added quickly, "Now that I think about it, Pearl Harbor is a big deal. It's that club we went to in Vale last year. It was off the chain."
Red Taylor, a Halifax County, N.C., Pear Harbor survivor, said he wasn't aware of one particular person named Soulja Boy. "We all worked together. I think this Soulja Boy is a little egotistical," the retired bank president said. "We were all Soulja Boys if you want my honest opinion."
Soulja Boy was on furlough and could not be reached for comment.
The rapper and military hero's press agent did release a statement."We are proud of Soulja's war record and his success in the recording industry. Many rappers today are too quickly condemned for being unpatriotic and anti-war, but Soulja Boy is a true American hero who gave unselfishly to his country and the music industry and when he is called to duty he will always be willing to 'crank that' for Uncle Sam."