Queensrÿche vocalist and chief songwriter Geoff Tate explained on AnybodyListening.net that this song explores the gratitude and regret war veterans feel. He said: "This is a song about guilt. A soldier who lost his friend in a firefight and spent a lot of time afterwards struggling with his feelings, wishing he could have done more to save his friend. The song is saying if I were king, if I could do anything, I'd have you back in my life again, back by my side. I thought that was a very interesting and inspiring viewpoint."
The songs pits the atrocities of war against the personal tragedies a soldier might endure, drawing attention the fact that any conflict, if large and abstract enough, is easy to rationalize away: it's only when it becomes personal that the damaging impacts of war become clear. This is in line with Geoff Tate's songwriting style, as he loves to explore the deeper, personal sides of people and events.