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Pete Seeger

Published January 30. 2014 4:00AM

Pioneering folksinger, champion of the common man and passionate activist for social causes, Pete Seeger, who died Monday at age 94, used the power of song to change the world.

His composition, "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," eloquently expressed the futility of war; his adaptation of the old spiritual, "We Shall Overcome" became the anthem of the Civil Rights movement; and "The Hammer Song," popularly known as "If I Had a Hammer," has had generations singing about justice, freedom and the love between our brothers and sisters all over this land.

Mr. Seeger's dedication to conservation also inspired construction of the sloop Clearwater, a floating classroom that helped inspire a cleanup of the Hudson River and served as a model for similar environmental efforts worldwide.

He "believed in the power of community - to stand up for what's right, speak out against what's wrong, and move this country closer to the America he knew we could be," President Obama said. "Over the years, Pete used his voice - and his hammer - to strike blows for worker's rights and civil rights; world peace and environmental conservation. And he always invited us to sing along. For reminding us where we come from and showing us where we need to go, we will always be grateful to Pete Seeger."

Though we mourn his death, we celebrate Mr. Seeger's long, inspirational life and know that his legacy will endure.

As his musical adaptation from the Book of Ecclesiastes reflects, "To everything - turn, turn, turn - There is a season - turn, turn, turn- And a time for every purpose under heaven."

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