Death of the Last True Hero: Goodbye, Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger Wows All Generations

Pete at the 2011 Great Hudson River Revival.

His aura was exceptional.

His voice had failed years ago, but that aura remained.  Few can render an old-time folk song these days without attracting snickers.  Pete never needed to worry–he practically perfected that musical genre in his lifetime.  If you were privileged to have sung with him or for him, as I did at the 2011 Great Hudson River Revival, it was an unforgettable experience.

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Pete’s death on Monday, January 27, 2014 has left a gap that can’t be filled. He was the last of my great heroes.  He lived what he believed, and he never seemed to stop believing that things could be better.  That the air and water would be cleaner, that people would consume only what they need, that the arc of history would bend more quickly towards justice.  Pete had carried out a campaign to draw attention to the real meaning of the holiday celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, just weeks before his death.  A joyous line of singers chanting civil rights hymns paraded through Beacon, New York, on Monday, January 20.  Sadly, Pete was unable to attend, a possible signal that his remaining life was slipping away.

The loss of his beloved wife, Toshi, in 2013, must have been overwhelming.  No matter what he was able to achieve after her death, it wouldn’t be the same without her.

We will miss you, magnificent hero.

Note to readers: A proposal to rename the Tappan Zee Bridge in honor of Pete Seeger has been proposed by an elected official, and is gathering steam.  Please add your voice in favor of this most appropriate honor, at  https://www.change.org/petitions/gov-cuomo-name-the-new-tappan-zee-bridge-for-pete-seeger.  Also, it is no longer certain that the landscape along the northerly stretch of the Palisades will remain pristine and undeveloped, as Pete would have wished.  To learn about an alarming proposal in the works by LG Electronics to build a huge office tower atop the Palisades near the George Washington Bridge, visit: http://www.protectthepalisades.org.

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Article copyright Vivian R. Carter 2014.  Photo of the Palisades copyright Vivian R. Carter 2010. Other photos (including header photo) copyright Vivian R. Carter 2011.

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About rockviv

You've entered the cyber-locale of Vivian Rattay Carter. I blog with the username "rockviv," short for Rockaway Vivian. Rockaway (Queens County) is one of New York City's most fascinating neighborhoods. I have owned a home on the peninsula since 1994, and worked there, full-time, for almost a decade. I've been working, traveling, and doing research around the New York metro area since late 2012, but the Rock remains the muse of my writing. With degrees from Northwestern (journalism), Brooklyn College (elementary education), and Fordham Law, I find I have a lot to say about this great planet we share. I am proud to have served, for several years, as a board member of Rockaway Civic Association (formerly Rockaway Park Homeowners' and Residents) and a lay leader of First Congregational Church of Rockaway Beach, United Church of Christ. I'm a member and supporter of many New York cultural, educational, and ecology groups. Although I have produced written work for publication in multiple genres, beginning with poetry in the early 1970's, my first non-fiction book, Images of America: Rockaway Beach, was published by Arcadia in June, 2012. My monthly opinion column, Rock Solid, appeared in The Wave, Rockaway's weekly community newspaper, from April 2009 through October, 2012, and I contributed numerous other articles and photos from 1999-2012. From the home page, click on the "Publications/Press-Links" tab for links to these articles The views expressed here are my own, and do not necessarily coincide with the views of any of the organizations that publish my work, or the groups I assist and support. Here's to independent voices!
This entry was posted in Meet Your Fellow Man, The Arts and Entertainment, Water and waterways and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Death of the Last True Hero: Goodbye, Pete Seeger

    • rockviv says:

      Love the reminiscence of Pete, zuludelta45, and glad you enjoyed mine. There’s a big gaping hole in my heart, for everything Pete Seeger represented. Rock Viv

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