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Tag: Peace Movement

November 12: Pete Seeger ~ Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

I almost posted this video yesterday for Veteran’s Day, but Pete Seeger’s classic talks more about the senselessness of being a soldier and that isn’t what Veteran’s Day is about. I know too many who have served proudly. Even if I think war is wrong (and if you haven’t learned that about me yet, you really are missing my point), I also try to keep my opinions clear.

This song isn’t about soldiers so much as the government that sends them away. We could make other choices. Sadly, the war machine is dug in again and the damage this time will take much, much longer to heal. Worse, some of us promote fierce patriotism but do nothing when our soldiers return, health damaged beyond repair.

Many of our battle-scarred men and women are homeless, mentally ill, living in poverty, unable to work, and these same people are part of the “takers” the Tea Party and GOP blame for costing our country so much. Veterans are high among those living on food stamps and they are the ones being hurt by a GOP that cares most about big business and the bottom line.

The irony would be laughable if it wasn’t so sick.

Peter, Paul and Mary made Pete Seeger’s song famous, but they weren’t the only ones who covered it. You can check YouTube yourself for alternative versions by Joan Baez, the Kingston Trio, and more.

Fortunately, I’ve seen Pete Seeger sing more than once: As a child and again last summer at the the Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival. I also watched his music program Rainbow Quest (some of which has been released on DVD). His music provided a soundtrack to my life.

This section of the blog developed from my experience last summer, and evolves into recalling some of my favorite songs. They are part of who I am and why I feel the way I do.

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November 10: Buffy Sainte-Marie ~ Universal Soldier

In June this year, I took a trip up to New York’s Hudson Valley for the Clearwater Hudson River Revival. I have been meaning to go for years, but when I found out that Buffy Sainte-Marie was one of the headliners, I couldn’t resist any longer.

My father had her music on reel-to-reel tape, and I’ve got it on both vinyl and CD. This song is probably her most famous. And I’ve seen her several times in the past, as a child and an adult.

She is proud of her Cree heritage, as well as her Canadian First Nations roots and pacifism. Her music was part of the early soundtrack of my life.

I should have remembered before becoming involved with a military man, but I forgot my roots. This is as much a reminder to stay true to your beliefs as it is a cautionary tale of the trouble with the military, especially today. 

It seems fitting to recall the struggle  for pacifism on the eve of Veteran’s Day, as it is also important to remember that there are still soldiers in combat across the world. In the end she says simply, “This is not the way we put an end to war.”

I agree.

If you’re not familiar with Buffy’s version, it might be because you know the 1965 version Donovan made famous.

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