Pete Seeger at the Lincoln Memorial

The concert at the Lincoln Memorial was a wonderful start to the festivities.  My favorites were Garth Brooks (who knew he could do gospel?) and Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen leading everyone in Woody Guthrie’s This Land is My Land

I grew up with Pete Seeger both with the Weavers and as a solo.  He used to come and perform at the annual Bucks County PA Peace Fair and I recall selling him Italian Ice at least once.  John Pareles wrote in his review of the concert in the New York Times

Its penultimate song had the 89-year-old folk singer Pete Seeger, who survived being blacklisted during the McCarthy era, leading a singalong on a full-length version of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” with one of his admirers, Mr. Springsteen, by his side.

And Joanna Weiss  in the Boston Globe

But the penultimate act seemed to suit the day best: Pete Seeger, 89, standing by Springsteen and the youth choir, feeding the crowd the lines to “This Land Is Your Land.” In his multicolored cap, gazing out on the scene, he wore an expression that veered toward glee.

But the most important piece was posted today in The Nation by Peter Rothberg.  Rothberg is promoting Seeger for a Nobel Peace prize for his decades of work.

Seeger has been an inimitable ambassador for peace, social justice and the best kind of patriotism over the course of a remarkable lifetime. As a prominent musician his songs have engaged people, particularly the youth, to question the value of war, to ban nuclear weapons, to work for international solidarity and against racism wherever it is practiced, and to assume ecological responsibility.

A particular hero to the civil rights movement on whose behalf he worked so tirelessly, Seeger made his first trip south at the invitation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1956, and returned in ’65, again at King’s personal invitation, to join the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Amid the tension and heat, Seeger went from campfire to campfire when the march stopped for the night, raising people’s morale with rollicking sing-alongs of new freedom songs.

 Check out and ask the American Friends Service Committee to nominate him.

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