The next time any of us walk West in the Village and come to the banks of the Hudson River, we can see that it is getting cleaner every year, and that fish are swimming in it again and that if someone should fall off a boat or take a short dip in the hot weather, they will not contract hepatitis.
Rather than being a gigantic flowing cesspool, it is being restored as a beautiful body of water, as it was for thousands of years before most of us were fortunate enough to arrive on this continent.
Pete had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the river’s history and of the Native Americans who felt that they were the stewards for the lands where they lived and the waters that flowed through those lands.
Due to Pete’s pioneering efforts,a new generation all think about that today and because of Pete’s tireless commitment, we have hopes for a future to live in a state where there is clear water and frack-free fields and forests .
Pete never asked to be credited for any of his actions. He simply stood up his whole life for what he thought was right.
Pete was in a class of his own and such a modest and committed person that he set the bar for all of us for how to act and interact with anybody and everybody!!
Having known him since 1948 (66 years!!!), I never saw him ever slow down for a minute.
He couldn’t fit the tranquillity of the Golden Years into his schedule.
Every time someone would comment on his being over 90 and appear worried, I would tell them about what Theo Bikel said when I played for his 85th birthday party concert in NYC.
“Ladies and gentlemen, some of you have expressed concern about my health and welfare, now that I have reached the age of 85.Not to worry, because in the theater, no one ever dies. We just go on tour!!!”
So today, like Theo, Pete’s still out there on that road!!!
It is not often that many 83 year olds like myself have had the chance to have spent a lifetime with someone older than themselves to look up to and to spend time with, as well to as collaborate with musically. Now I won’t have a chance to play with Pete Seeger any more. Yet I will still continue to look up to him every day of my life..
I first heard Pete 65 years ago when my mother took me to a Henry Wallace rally in 1948 when I was about to turn 18.
All the hundreds of times I have played with him over the years since then, each event always has been a joy as well as an honor.
He shared his incredible gifts as an artist with anybody and everybody and set an example to all musicians of what our job is all about…to make a contribution while we are here, to honor young people and to show love and exercise responsibility to our blessed planet earth.
Now he is gone. We all have to honor his memory, his music, and his ideals of bringing the world together in whatever we do in our lives, the way he brought people together with the power of song.
We must all think of his beautiful family and send them a prayer and offer love in any way that we can.
His voice will remain in the hearts of the millions who have heard him.
It was a blessing to know him.