Let’s War No More

As I shared on Facebook yesterday, the attack on Ukraine has hit me hard. Not because I have family or friends there. Just because I so hate the fact of war. That we keep having them. That we keep sending young men and women to die.

This image is from World Beyond War

In the early 60s when I was going to college and getting exposed to folk music, I fell in love with the song “Where Have all the Flowers Gone.” The message in the lyrics spoke to me then, as they still do today, one day after Putin declared war on Ukraine.

When will we ever learn?

Pete Seeger, noted folk singer, wrote the first three verses of this popular folk song. The last two were added in 1960 by Joe Hickerson, who made it a “circular” song, bringing it back to the flowers.

Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls have picked them everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone, long time passing?
Where have all the young girls gone, long time ago?
Where have all the young girls gone?
Gone for husbands everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the husbands gone, long time passing?
Where have all the husbands gone, long time ago?
Where have all the husbands gone?
Gone for soldiers everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the soldiers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the soldiers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards, everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the graveyards gone, long time passing?
Where have all the graveyards gone, long time ago?
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Gone to flowers, everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Many artists have covered this song, and this rendition by Peter, Paul and Mary is one of my favorites. As is this one by Joan Baiz in the 1994 Kennedy Center tribute to Pete Seeger.

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Ukraine.

3 thoughts on “Let’s War No More”

  1. This is a very sad time. I just felt ill when l heard yesterday’s news. “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” has always been a favorite song of mine even though it brings back mixed emotions.
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    1. A sad time indeed, and I agree about the emotions around the song. Every time I sang it, accompanied by my guitar I would be filled with a myriad of emotions. Melancholy, sadness, despair… tinged with a bit of awe over the insight of Seeger and other folk singers who called people to thought and action.

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