Life is a Mystery

18 January 2009

This Land is Your Land

My favorite moment in today’s We Are One inaugural celebration event was when Pete Seeger came on stage to sing Woodie Guthrie’s anthem: This Land is Your Land. It is always interesting to see what verses people sing of this song, which has so many varients. I thought Pete would sing some of the tougher verses, and he didn’t disappoint. Oh what a country we’d have if this was our national anthem!

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Today he sang (MP3 version):

As I went walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway
I saw below me that golden valley
This land was made for you and me.

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

I roamed and I rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
While all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me.

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

In the squares of the city, by the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I saw my people.
As they stood hungry, I stood whistlin’,
This land made for you and me.

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
A great big sign there said “private property;”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing;
That side was made for you and me.

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

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Pete was joined onstage by his grandson Tao, Bruce Springsteen, and a wonderful choir. It was a magical moment. All I could think was that here was an 89 year old man who stood on these same steps of the Lincoln Memorial with Dr. King in 1963, now gazing out at the children and grandchildren of those marchers as he helps to celebrate electing one of them president of the United States. Who would have predicted that?

Maybe this land is our land after all.

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Eric Celeste / Saint Paul, Minnesota / 651.323.2009 / efc@clst.org