A death in the family

January 28, 2014

I spent much of my morning reading about and listening to Pete Seeger, who died Monday at 94. I cried too, as though I had lost a family member. And for those of us who came of age in the 60s, Seeger was almost family. Many people have written much better than I of his influence on America and its music over the decades. When I think of Pete Seeger, I remember the songs of the 60s, his voice at the anti-war rallies and during the struggle for civil rights in the south. I remember the power of his music and how it moved so many of us to action.

Pete Seeger was a man comfortable in his own skin. He knew who he was and believed what he said, whether he was singing on a stage or speaking before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. He was genuine in a way that very few of us manage to be, and if he was afraid, he never showed it. He was always just Pete, singing about America and trying to get America to sing along. His optimism never wavered, nor did his belief that music could heal a broken world.

I will miss that reedy voice, that tall skinny guy with the long-necked banjo. I already do. We need more like him.

Rest in Peace, Pete Seeger.