Redgum founder John Schumann has responded to an ignorant article by Murdoch hack Miranda Devine over her warped portrayal of what was indeed an honourable moment.
The extreme Ms Devine wrote that the display of Schumann’s guitar at the Australian War Memorial was “peculiar” as his song ‘I Was Only 19’ (written on the guitar) honoured “part of the protest movement that inflicted such damage on our country and devalued the sacrifice of the soldiers who did their duty”.
John Schumann took to Facebook to respond to who he called “the opinionated ignorant”.
To the Editor
My attention was drawn to an appalling little paragraph by Miranda Devine published in your august journal on Sunday July 3.
Clearly, Ms Devine is abysmally ignorant of the fact that ‘I was only 19’ was written in 1982 and recorded in 1983 – a decade after Australia’s withdrawal from that particular conflict. Therefore “19” could not have been part of the protest movement.
Even squinting through the bitter and uncharitable prism through which Ms Devine apparently views my work, it is hard to see how “19” could have been a part of a protest movement which expired when Australia withdrew from Vietnam. Equally, it is difficult to see how the song inflicted damage on our country and devalued the sacrifice of the soldiers who did their duty.
I stand by my opposition to Australia’s participation in that conflict then and now – as all of my veteran friends well know.
Mercifully, those of us in those who live in South Australia are not often exposed to Ms Devine’s pitiable ignorance.
‘I Was Only 19” was a first person account of an Australian soldier’s experience in the Vietnam War. The song was a number one hit in Australia in 1983.
A hip-hop version by The Herd made the song a hit again in 2005.
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