I Was Only 19

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I was only 19, written by red gum, an Australian band is a song about the Vietnam War. It is an extremely moving song, as from what we gather from the title, the song is about a young lad who was only 19 when he first went off to fight in the war.

In the song, there is a lot of alliteration used such as the phrase “passing-out parade at Puckapunyal” and “Frankie kicked a mine the day that mankind kicked the moon”. A passing out parade is a sort of graduation ceremony for soldiers one they have completed their training and Puckapunyal is and Australian Army Base in Victoria. This signifies that a soldier is ready to be sent away and is qualified to fight in a war. “Frankie kicked a mine the day that mankind kicked the moon”, man landed on the moon on the 21st July 1969 and on the very same day, Platoon 3, a military unit, was deployed on operation on Mundinburra, to the mine-infested Long Hai Hills of South Vietnam. When a radio signal had been passed on that the Americans had landed on the moon, the historic news was passed onto the men. That day, two mines were tripped. Skipper Hines and Corporal John needs both lost their lives. 23 soldiers were wounded and of these, 11 were wounded badly enough to be repatriated to Australia, one of which was Frank “Frankie” Hunt. Although in the song it gives the impression that he had died, he actually didn’t, but he was 11 months from going home and to a soldier, going home because of injury can make you feel like you have let down your country, and they will never be able to forgive you. 11 months seems like a long time to us, but to a soldier, it was all they could ask for.

Flash back is a rather large technique used as in the fourth and the last paragraph, the character telling the story seems to be talking to a doctor and the way the song is written is in past tense suggest that he is in fact, reminiscing about the war rather than the audience actually being there on the journey with the him. The entire song...
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