Eric Bogle

DEDICATION DAY

August in Mildura, and Winter’s on the run
There’s an early taste of Springtime in the warm mid-morning sun
As the men march past, from first to last
The crowds cheer every one
And war seems somehow very far away
On this sunny Dedication Day.

They march to a Memorial, built by and for their own
A simple Wall of Remembrance, of brick and steel and stone
With the names inscribed of those who’d died
While those who had made it home
With a debt of love and honour to repay
Had all gathered there on Dedication Day.

Refrain:
It’s Dedication Day
It’s Dedication Day

There was a concert held that evening, me and others sang our songs
While the boys drank beer and reminisced, laughed and clapped and sang along
As I was standing there with my guitar
Just waiting to go on
A man grabbed my arm and said, “Please would you play
A song for my mate Hans this Dedication Day”.

He asked me to sing “Welcome Home”, and I saw tears in his eyes
I knew there was a story there, but I did not want to pry
And then he said to me, “I want that song you see
For this morning my mate died”
Faced with his grief, there was nothing I could say
So I sang for Hans on Dedication Day.

They say that Hans took his own life, but I don’t know if that’s true
But if it is, that’s no surprise, too many Vietnam Veterans do
Only those who were there can know the despair
And the pain that he went through
For who can understand it more than they?
Those who knew the cost of Dedication Day.

Though that Asian War’s long over, they’re still burying their dead
Yet somehow their bond grows stronger with each broken thread
What poison stole into Hans’ soul
To taint the years ahead?
In that war so long ago and far away
Until he died of wounds on Dedication Day.