19 January 2009

He Had A Dream

Pete Seeger is almost 90 years old, just a few months younger than my mother, and like anyone his age, has seen quite a bit of history.

However, because of his lifelong political activism, we can safely infer that he's seen a bit more than your average 90 year old, and when he took the stage at yesterday's Lincoln Memorial concert - in the rather singular situation of having had soon-to-be President Obama open for him - to lead half a million people in a stirring rendition of "This Land Is Your Land," I couldn't help marveling at what must have been going through his mind.

Here was a man who was already getting along in years when he marched with Martin Luther King on the day of the "I Have A Dream" speech; could he have ever in his wildest imaginings pictured a day like this? I'm 30 years younger and I'm pretty sure I never did.

It was a day when, as Dr. King said, "all of God's children could sing with a new meaning," and sing they did. When half million people raised their voices on "America The Beautiful," is was no longer an ideal or aspiration; for that shining moment, it was self-evident fact.

Martin Luther King predicted that the events of August 28, 1963 would "go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation." Thanks to his vision, his genius and immense personal courage, we may now have now lived to see a still greater one. Thank you, Dr. King, thank you to all the lesser known but similarly brave souls who walked with him, and thank you, America, for being worthy of his dream.

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