Monday, January 26, 2009

Song: "Garryowen"

The post below about Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders got me to thinking about the song: Garryownen. The following is from Wikipedia"

The origins of Garryowen are unclear, but it emerged in the late eighteenth century, when it was a drinking song of rich young roisters in Limerick. It obtained immediate popularity in the British Army through the 5th (Royal Irish) Lancers, who were garrisoned in Limerick and was played throughout the Napoleonic War, becoming the regimental march of the 18th Foot (The Royal Irish Regiment)....

Garryowen became the marching tune for the United States 69th Infantry Regiment, New York Militia, (the famed "Fighting 69th" ) in the mid-1800s. The "Fighting 69th" adopted Garry Owen before the Civil War and recently brought it back to combat in Operation Iraqi Freedom
It later became the marching tune for the US 7th Cavalry Regiment during the late 1800s. The tune was a favorite of General George Armstrong Custer and became the official air of the Regiment in 1867. According to legend it was the last tune played before the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

The name of the tune has become a part of the regiment, the words Garry Owen are part of the regimental crest, and there is a Camp Garry Owen, north of Seoul, Korea, which houses part of the 4th Squadron of the regiment.The Seventh Cavalry regiment became a part of the US 1st Cavalry Division in 1921, and "Garryowen" became the official tune of the division in 1981.

The 7th Cavalry's version as of 1905 consisted of these lyrics

We are the pride of the Army and a regiment of great renown, Our Name's on the pages of History. From sixty-six on down. If you think we stop or falter While into the fray we're going Just watch the steps with our heads erect, While our band plays Garryowen.


In the Fighting Seventh's the place for me, Its the cream of all the Cavalry; No other regiment ever can claim Its pride, honor, glory and undying fame.

We know fear when stern duty Calls us far away from home, Our country's flag shall safely o'er us wave, No matter where we roam. " Tis the gallant 7th Cavalry It matters not where we are going" Such you'll surely say as we march away; And our band plays Garryowen.


Then hurrah for our brave commanders! Who led us into the fight. We'll do or die in our country's cause, And battle for the right. And when the war is o'er, And to our home we're goin Just watch your step, with our heads erect, When our band plays Garryowen.


The song and tune has been played in a number of my favorite movies which include:
Fort Apache , She Wore a Yellow Ribbon,The Long Gray Line, The Searchers (all directed by John Ford)We Were Soldiers, They Died with their Boots On, The Fighting 69th and of course Rough Riders directed by John Milius.

A few year ago when our son and I stopped at Custer's " Little Big Horn Battlefield" in Montana I purchased a CD with the song on it at the gift shop.

Click on the title above to play the audio and video version of the song from Errol Flynn's "They Died With Their Boots On." (After the song is played the video goes on and by today's standards is not politically correct and the video is only recommended through the song)