Sunday, January 18, 2009


For me, the most touching part of Sunday's inaugural festivities was seeing Pete Seeger, who turns 90 in March, play alongside Bruce Springsteen on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. If you haven't seen it yet and you have HBO On Demand, you know what to do.

Seeger was never always such a welcome guest in the eyes of Washington, especially in the 50s and 60s. He was blacklisted during the McCarthy era for supposed "Communist sympathies" and refusing to kowtow to McCarthy's House UnAmerican Activities Committee. And the last time Seeger made a splash at the Reflecting Pool was at Dr. Martin Luther King's March on Washington, and saw his inspired revision of the old Reverend Charles Tindley gospel hymn "We Shall Overcome" so beautifully performed at that rally in August 1963 by Joan Baez. So how fitting was it that he be there to sing his old pal Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" beside prodigal son Bruce at the inauguration of the first black president of the United States.

Pete Seeger is an absolute national treasure and if you haven't seen him yet, it is your civic duty as a music lover and a patriot of your country to do so while he is still playing out.

God Bless Pete Seeger. If we ever run into each other in Beacon, New York, lunch is on me. -Ed.

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