LETTER: Song played by marching band not anti-war

Jimmy Shepherd’s letter printed in Wednesday’s paper raises an important question as to the origin of the anti-war folk tune, “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye.”

Recent research has revealed that “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” the folk song presented as part of the Marching Chips’ recent salute to Veterans, pre-dates the Irish parody Mr. Shepherd quotes.

As a component of the University that actually grew out of the officer training program during the First World War, the Chippewa Marching Band has a history of over ninety years of cooperation and support for veterans, active military, and our ROTC program.

We are proud of our American troops and honor them whenever we have the opportunity.

In fact, we annually present our “True Colors” award to the members of the band who are leaving us for military service.

There is nothing objectionable about Mr. Shepherd’s letter.

I am glad to set the record straight. But that’s the job of the CM Life editorial staff, isn’t it?

If the paper is going to print such a letter without making a single inquiry as to the questions asked, why attach a title that seems intended to inflame and insult?

Such laziness and childishness is beneath the reputation and tradition of CM Life and fails to represent the students of CMU with appropriate journalistic rigor.

What a shame.


James Batcheller, 

Director The Chippewa Marching Band


  1. Sean McClintic says:

    You spelled “Song” incorrectly…

  2. Jimmy Shepherd says:

    Thank you for your correction, Dr. Batcheller. I apologize if my mistake in any way tarnished the reputation of the marching band. Keep up your your good work. I hope that this incident causes CM-Life to pay closer attention to the letters it chooses to publish.

    • Marching Chip says:

      Or the person who wrote the letter in the first place can do their own research before they even send it in. Just an idea.

  3. Randall Hoyle says:

    Go Batch!

  4. Marching Chip says:

    The person who who also wrote the letter in the first place should also do their own research before they decide to send a letter in. Just a thought.

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