Song commemorates Indigenous service
The Australian Army has launched a song commemorating the proud history of distinguished service by Indigenous Australians during the past 100 years.
The song, On Every Anzac Day, was launched today at the Australian War Memorial during a performance by the song’s creator, Mr John Schumann, OAM, who wrote the renowned military tribute I was only 19.
The Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, AO, said the song sought to highlight the valued contribution of Army’s Indigenous service men and women.
“Throughout our nation’s history, Indigenous men and women have served with distinction and courage in Australia’s military operations,” LTGEN Morrison said.
“In recognition of this service, Army has worked with Mr John Schumann to produce On Every Anzac Day, a commemorative song reflecting on the legacy of those Indigenous soldiers who served during the First World War.
“We all wear the Rising Sun Badge with pride. It is a symbol of our history and of our service to the nation. Irrespective of individual ethnic or cultural background, we all wear the same uniform and we are all Australian soldiers.
“On Every Anzac Day seeks to further this history, acknowledging the century-long contribution of all Indigenous men and women who have served in our Army as equals.
“I hope this song will endure and encourage Australians of all ages to reflect on our proud Indigenous Army service for years to come.”
The song’s creator, John Schumann said he was delighted and indeed honoured to have been asked by LTGEN Morrison to write the song.
“Pouring through the Australian War Memorial’s sensational archives, researching the background to the song, I was inspired and very moved by the stories of Indigenous Australians who stepped up to defend their country, a counter that, to all intents and purposes, had been taken from them,” Mr Schumann said.
“I was very comfortable working with the Army on this project because at no time was there a sense that we should shy away from some of the injustices that were visited upon those blokes in the past.
“I really hope that this song helps all of us take one more step towards a true reconciliation.”
Australian War Memorial Director, Dr Brendan Nelson, encouraged all Australian’s to listen to the song.
“One hundred years after the Gallipoli landings by the Anzacs, John Schumann has given our nation a great gift,” Dr Nelson said.
“On Every Anzac Day is a musically powerful tribute to Indigenous soldiers, their service and sacrifice for an Australia that unlike the Army, has not treated them equally.
“Every Australian should listen to this song. The music and words will burrow deep into our collective consciousness. I hope it is played on every Anzac Day.”
On Every Anzac Day will be available for download from iTunes.