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And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda

Eric Bogie, John McDermott, and Bobby Edwards; Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency, LTD. (CMRRA); Copyright Control/ASCAP


In August of '95, the Incountry group motored into Omaha to help the Nebraska Vietnam vets celebrate another reunion. Marty Heuer and Gary Lee came along to help out in the absence of Toby Hughes and a couple of the grunts. Bull Durham and Saul Broudy were there, and Chip Dockery.

I love jam sessions and there were plenty of those separate and apart from the stage presentations. In the course of the jamming, Chip sang And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda. I had never heard the song before.

It's a haunting tune and the lyrics strike like a deadly arrow deep into the warrior's heart. The song is about a young Australian who gets conscripted and sent off to fight World War I. At the blood bath of Gallipoli a fate worse than death finds him.

The song affected me profoundly. I persuaded Chip to sing it into my little handheld microcassette tape recorder. Later, we exchanged correspondence to assure that I had the words down the way he sang them.

The similarities between the story in the song and what happened to so many of America's Vietnam veterans are powerfully moving. ". . . The young people ask what the hell are they marching for; and I ask myself the same question. . ."

Thanks, Chip; I owe you one.


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