Saturday, March 05, 2011

I Was Only Nineteen - Saturday Song

Red Gum, an Australian folk band came out with a song called "I was only nineteen" dealing with a young man who was called up for service in Vietnam. It was a number one national hit. The Liberal Government at the time introduced conscription and many 18 year olds were sent to fight with the American forces - "All the Way with LBJ" was the Government's catch-cry during the late 60s.

I had friends that went and some that didn't come back. Conscription wasn't for all - it was amarble pulled out of the bucket with your birthdate on it. Mine wasn't pulled out and sometimes I wonder if it ever went in! You see, I was born on April 1, April Fools Day.

The Labor Government siezed power and under Gough Whitlam, conscription was abolished. I remember having a party when the election was on and I can imagine many 18 year olds breathing a sigh of relief.
Like many countries around the world and not only by the youth, but people of many ages marched in moritoriums denouncing involvement in the Vietnam war.
It's hard to know if we should have been there or not, but those who were, despite either wanting or not wanting to be there should be respected for their commitment.

Back to Red Gum. They were out of Adelaide and gained national fame and travelled overseas. Their songs have been recorded by many other international singers, even Joan Baez.


  1. I am sure you appreciate not drawing the short straw to go to Vietnam.
    Have a good weekend.

  2. The weekend is turning out perfect with wather to garden by. Lawns mowed, garden beds de-weeded.
    A dinner with friends and two early morning rides with mates. Perfect.


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