This may be my last entry…
I have a go-to song that comes into my head whenever I am feeling down or stressed. I know it back to front, front to back, word for word and all those other things that let you know I am more than familiar with it. The song is ‘And the band played Waltzing Matilida’ originally by Eric Bogle but the versions I know best are by The Pogues and June Tabor.
It tells the story of a young Australian who is drafted into the army during the First World War. He is shipped off to Gallipoli to fight, is critically injured and shipped back to Australia where he spends the rest of his days unable to forget what happened and no longer able to go walking the country like he did in his youth. It’s an incredibly moving and visceral song with a strong anti-war message.
Today was the 100th anniversary of the commencement of the Gallipoli campaign and has been marked by solemn ceremonies around the world including the UK. There was a strong UK military presence at Gallipoli but it tends to be one of the overlooked campaigns with more focus placed on the war against Kaiser Wilhelm’s Germany. The Queen lead the remembrance ceremonies which were attended by leaders from all the main political parties
I have often wondered what it must have been like and now there is nobody left to ask. We should never forget the sacrifice that those brave men made to make the World that little bit safer for us all. I’m not endorsing war by saying this, just marking my respect for those that fought and died.
I think the last verse of the song sums it up for me:
“And so now every April, I sit on me porch, and I watch the parades pass before me.And I see my old comrades, how proudly they march, reviving old dreams of past gloriesAnd the old men march slowly, old bones stiff and sore. They’re tired old heroes from a forgotten warAnd the young people ask, what are they marching for? And I ask myself the same question.”…And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda – Eric Bogle