About six years ago I saw a bumper sticker I had to have. Thanks to the internet I found it quickly. "Pete Seeger for Nobel Peace Prize."
Pete left us yesterday after 94 years of supreme dignity and clarity. There was never any doubt which side of humanity Pete Seeger was on, whether he was rallying workers with Woody Guthrie, confronting America's dark side with the Almanac Singers and the Weavers, or trying to cut the electricity to Bob Dylan playing at Newport.
You knew where Pete was when it came to things like personal freedom for all people.
This is the man who wrote "If I Had a Hammer." Who turned to Book of Ecclesiastes for the lyrics of "Turn! Turn! Turn!" Who mourned all war dead with "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" Who adapted in the folk tradition spirituals that became "We Shall Overcome," the theme of the American Civil Rights Movement.
The man who had to come back a second time to sing "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" on the Smothers Brothers TV show, because the tale of a bullheaded sergeant ordering his platoon into a swamp was just a little too close to home for a country on a headlong mission into Vietnam.
You don't hear the phrase "the Pete Seegers of the world." There was only one. His musical career was not about money, not about stadium tours, not about blogging from his bedroom.
Here was a man who faced storms. All who tried to hush him were silenced, whatever the cost. Grace under pressure. Hemingway's definition of courage. His reward was his freedom, his gift was his longevity. Listen to what he sings. It's all he ever wanted.
Thanks to the man who rang out love between his brothers and his sisters, all over this land.
Take a listen to some of Pete's most resounding songs via the Spotify playlist below.