BATTLE HYMN OF LT. CALLEY (JULIAN WILSON/JAMES M. SMITH) (1971)
(Tune: "Battle Hymn of the Republic")


My Lai, March 16, 1968
Photograph by Ronald L. Haeberle.

PLAY MIDI FILE (13 KB) IN BACKGROUND

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TIME, December 5, 1969:
Only a shadow of a doubt now remains that the massacre at My Lai was an atrocity, barbaric in execution. Yet almost as chilling to the American mind is the character of the alleged perpetrators. The deed was not performed by patently demented men. Instead, according to the ample testimony of their friends and relatives, the men of C Company who swept through My Lai were for the most part almost depressingly normal. They were Everymen, decent in their daily lives, who at home in Ohio or Vermont would regard it as unthinkable to maliciously strike a child, much less kill one. Yet men in American uniforms slaughtered the civilians of My Lai, and in so doing humiliated the U.S. and called in question the U.S. mission in Vietnam in a way that all the antiwar protesters could never have done.

Lyrics as recorded by "C COMPANY featuring Terry Nelson,", Plantation Records PL-73, 1971
transcribed by Manfred Helfert.

SPOKEN INTRO:
Once upon a time, there was a little boy who wanted to grow up to be a soldier and serve his country in whatever way he could.
He would parade around the house with a saucepan on his head for a helmet, a wooden sword in one hand, and the American flag in the other.
As he grew up, he'd put away the things of a child, but he never let go of the flag...
My name is William Calley,
I'm a soldier of this land,
I've tried to do my duty
And to gain the upper hand;
But they've made me out a villain,
They have stamped me with a brand,
As we go marching on...

I'm just another soldier
From the shores of USA,
Forgotten on a battlefield
Ten thousand miles away
While life goes on as usual
From New York to Santa Fe,
As we go marching on...

I've seen my buddies ambushed
On the left and on the right,
And their youthful bodies riddled
By the bullets of the night;
Where all the rules are broken
And the only law is might,
As we go marching on...

While we're fighting in the jungles
They were marching in the street,
While we're dying in the rice fields
They were helping our defeat.
While we're facing VC bullets
They were sounding a retreat,
As we go marching on...

With our sweat we took the bunkers,
With our tears we took the plain,
With our blood we took the mountain
And they gave it back again.
Still, all of us are soldiers,
We're too busy to complain,
As we go marching on...

SPOKEN:
When I reach my final campground
In that land beyond the sun,
And the Great Commander asks me,
"Did you fight or did you run?"
I'll stand both straight and tall,
Stripped of medals, rank, and gun,
And this is what I'll say,
"Sir, I followed all my orders,
And I did the best I could.
It's hard to judge the enemy
And hard to tell the good.
Yet, there's not a man among us
Who would not have understood.

We took the jungle village
Exactly like they said
,
We responded to their rifle fire
With everything we had.
And when the smoke had cleared away
A hundred souls lay dead.

Sir, the soldier that's alive
Is the only one can fight.
There's no other way to wage a war
When the only one in sight
That you're sure is not a VC
Is you buddy on your right.

When all the wars are over
And the battle's finally won
Count me only as a soldier
Who never left his gun,
With a light to serve my country
As the only prize I've won..."

Glory, glory, hallelujah... [FADE-OUT]

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