I was only 19 - Red Gum

Topics: Agent Orange, Vietnam War, Refugee Pages: 2 (230 words) Published: November 23, 2014
I was only 19 – John Shuman

This song portrays the typical Australian soldiers experience in the Vietnam War. It describes the combat in Vietnam, and ends with the return home of a soldier that appears to be suffering for the shellshock and exposure to the deadly chemical agent orange, which was sprayed over troops from aircrafts. All royalties to the song have gone to the Vietnam veterans association of Australia, who at the time were raising health issues on behalf of the veterans, while struggling with an uncompromising government. Lead vocalist John Shuman wrote the song after hearing vivid stories from friends, and family members involved in the war. There’s no doubt that this song helped the Australia public understand, and visualise what the Australian troops had to experience and the ordeal they went through. Record sales of the song indicated that the message was received by the Australian public.

Point of view
In my point of view the song is very descriptive and has personal touches from the song writer, as he had family and friends involved in the Vietnam War. From the artists point of view he tells the story in past tense, suggesting that the character in the song is reminiscing about the war rather than the audience actually being there on the journey.

It’s not the war you know, it’s the war they fought.
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